Chemicals in Construction

E’wida ... precast concrete is driving creativity.

E’wida ... precast concrete is driving creativity.

Precast admixtures unveiled by Mapei

As demand for precast concrete rises, Mapei expects its new range to be well received on the market thanks to the advantages they offer in terms of workability, strength and energy conservation.

September 2011

MAPEI, a leading global manufacturer of adhesives, sealants and chemical products for buildings, has recently introduced a new range of specially developed precast concrete admixtures in light of the growing demand for precast concrete, which now accounts for up to 30 per cent of the UAE concrete construction market.

Mapei says that the advantages of using admixtures in producing precast concrete have been reaffirmed in recent trials that used its Dynamon admixture system. These tests determined that Dynamon helped precast concrete reduce permeability and water absorption, improve the workability and finishing of fresh concrete, reduce bleeding and segregation of fresh concrete, improve the long-term strength gain, reduce alkali-aggregate reactivity and overall energy consumption per unit of concrete, and minimise the carbon footprint of the structure.

“Precast concrete is driving creativity in the real estate sector as architects now have greater leverage to develop intricate designs that can easily be produced off-site,” says Ahmad J E’wida, concrete admixture market manager at Mapei. “Moreover, with the development and introduction of innovative precast concrete admixtures, contractors and developers are now able to further optimise the benefits of using precast concrete, particularly in terms of energy and utility costs.”

The specialised precast concrete admixtures introduced by Mapei include the Dynamon PCE range and in particular, Mapefluid N500, which are now extensively used in the construction industry.

The Dynamon range is used in tandem with Mapeplast LA to improve strength and ensure that components remain lightweight. This combination can be utilised virtually anywhere where normal weight precast concrete is used, including floors, walls, and exterior finishing.

“These admixtures are also perfect to produce lightweight precast concrete that are used for many non-structural applications, including countertops, curbs, gutters, balconies, and decks. It is particularly useful in controlled batching and enclosed factory fabrication, under controlled conditions that exceed PCI’s (Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute) Plant Certification requirements,” he adds.

Precast concrete that is manufactured using Mapeplast LA and Dynamon are distinguished in the industry for being durable, resistant to the elements, and its unique ability to offer a cost-effective solution to many architectural applications, says E’wida.

Mapefluid N500, on the other hand, helps achieve consistent results for precast concrete. It is particularly useful in controlled batching and enclosed factory fabrication, under controlled conditions that exceed PCI’s Plant Certification requirements.

Mapei also points out studies showing that Dynamon PC1100 and Mapeplast LA help reduce the weight and maximise the size of the production of GFRC (glassfibre-reinforced concrete) panels, mainly because of the high early compressive strength achieved by Dynamon PC1100. “This has ultimately helped reduce the total cost of the building foundation, footing, beams and columns,” he says.

Elaborating on the benefits of using precast concrete, he says: “Precast concrete, which has a growing acceptance in the region, is around 10 per cent cheaper to manufacture compared to other alternatives, while it can be produced much faster, helping contractors effectively meet deadlines, quality requirements or fast track construction timelines.

“These systems are also gaining popularity in constructions sites because of their low maintenance cost, and much greater resistance to wear and tear, severe weather, rot, insects and fire. Moreover, precast concrete structures are 100 per cent recyclable, while precast concrete components also help lower interior lighting costs because of their reflectance qualities. Being a made-to-order building material, precast concrete also ensures that there is less on-site construction waste while helping improve quality control. Factoring all its green attributes, precast concrete can help building owners reach as many as 21 of the 26 points needed to achieve minimum Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification or contribute to Estidama Pearl rating.”

The main market for precast concrete is in the construction of housing, including low-rising residential buildings, labour accommodation and hostels because most of these projects have repetitive designs or structures, which makes it more practical to pre-fabricate certain components in the factory. Commercial buildings such as office facilities and shopping malls comprise the second biggest market for precast concrete, benefiting from its flexibility to create and implement special designs for modern malls and other iconic structures.

Founded in Milan in 1937, Mapei is a world leader in the production of adhesives and complementary products for the installation of all types of floor and wall coverings. The company is also specialised in other chemical products for buildings: from waterproofing to special mortars, from admixtures for concrete to products for the restoration of ancient buildings.

Mapei’s UAE subsidiary is Innovative Building Solutions (IBS-Mapei). As part of its long-term commitment to the Middle East, the company commenced production in February 2009, at its 40,000 sq m state-of-the-art facility at Dubai Investments Park.

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