Breakthroughs in concrete science and engineering confirm that concrete is often part of the solution when it comes to planning for a sustainable development, especially in urban areas that encompasses economic growth and social progress, while minimizing the ecological footprint. Based upon a concrete volume per 10,000 cubic meters, Sika solutions brought energy savings equivalent to 31,000 liters oil, carbon savings equivalent to 450,000 km (with a 15 ton truck) and water savings equivalent to the daily water consumed by 1,500 Colombians. This case study was processed with Argos, a multinational company that produces and markets 19.9 million tons of cement per year.

Concrete as construction material

Concrete is the most complex material in the construction industry due to the composition and origin/type of raw materials. Depending on the local market, a wide range of performance requirements exists and the best combination of concrete mix design (composition of the raw materials) and the chemical admixture must be ensured. Concrete solutions predominantly focus on architecture related application fields such as housing and shopping malls, but also on infrastructure projects: railways, highways, harbors, and city infrastructures in general.

FREEDOM OF DESIGN

Concrete is produced in a kind of liquid form and transported to the site where it is poured in a formwork and hardens. Therefore contractors and architects have the freedom of design.

Megatrends drive innovation
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Megatrends drive innovation

Both the megatrend “Sustainability” and the megatrend “Urbanisation” have a tremendous impact on the way concrete producers and contractors judge the quality and file performance requirements.

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5 dynamic pillars

Sika develops chemical admixtures for the cement and mining industries, and for all stages of concrete production. Due to the increased use of lower to lowest quality cement, sand, and aggregate, these five pillars are very dynamic and call for new and innovative solutions.

Combining Sustainability and Performance

For more than 100 years, Sika has paved the way for progress in concrete solutions by developing and marketing admixtures and additives for use in concrete, cement, and mortar production. Sika has the technologies to make this building material considerably more environmentally friendly. “With our products, we are in a position to reduce CO2 emissions from concrete by half and make a decisive contribution towards conserving nature and resources,” points out Dr. Michael Danzinger, Corporate Technology Head Concrete Systems.

Securing Quality for Composite Materials

Concrete is the most commonly used building material in the world. For example in infrastructure, tunnels, dams, parking lots, parking decks, or skyscrapers. Any improvement in the engineering of concrete benefits all. Improvements can include cost, strength, durability, or ease of application. And as the material evolves, our infrastructure becomes safer. However, concrete is a composite material: it is only as good as its weakest component. Sika admixture technologies are based upon the fact that the quality of raw materials and their respective properties vary widely and tend to weaken throughout the world. Sika technologies therefore aim to improve on some of the known gaps in concrete as a composite material.

Durability design of concrete structures minimize Life cycle Costs

As the cost of structures increases, so does the need to keep these structures in service for as long as possible. This effectively reduces the life-cycle costs and aids in the investment decision from a time-value of money perspective. Limiting and preventing cracks protects the high alkaline environment that the concrete inherently creates. This in turn protects the reinforcement from corrosion. This is one of the most important attributes of concrete durability and one of the hardest to achieve consistently, but that is all about to change. A new shrinkage reducing/compensating admixture like Sika Control® SRA has the potential to generate a shrinkage neutral concrete, effectively, non-shrink concrete. High-performance concrete thus is not a single type of concrete, but rather any number of concretes engineered to possess certain properties suitable for a particular construction application.

Definition: High performance concrete

High performance concrete can be regarded as synonymous with high strength concrete (HSC). Concrete admixtures lower the water-to-cement ratio and guarantee highest quality even if the quality of available raw materials like sand is decling. Sika HPC solutions encompass three attributes:

Robustness:
It is defined as the ability to resist changes without adapting its initial stable configuration.

Reliability:
By definition it is the continuous and stable performance over a specified time frame under specified environmental conditions which are not under our control. The capacity of a designed, produced or maintained item to perform as required over time.

Predictability:
Something that is predictable happens in a way or at a time that you know about before it happens.

Admixtures can enable excellent workability in fresh concrete, or low heat of hydration in case of mass concrete, or very quick setting and hardening of concrete in case of spray concrete which is used to repair and waterproof tunnels. Besides high strength, high ductility and high durability, which are regarded as the most favorable factors of being a construction material, robustness, reliability, and predictability are the key attributes to Sika high performance concrete solutions.

Conclusion: Why use HPC?

Although the upfront cost might be higher because of the ingredients used and the care needed in the manufacturing process, HPC can save money due to the reduced need for other building materials such as spans and supports. Reduced water and energy costs are further characteristics of high performance concrete solutions. All in all: when HPC is used in construction projects, safer and more sustainable structures that require less maintenance are built.