It is easy to overlook the use of concrete in society. Concrete plays a vital part in our daily lives and in a functioning society. Its benefits to society are immense, being used to build our schools, hospitals, apartment blocks, bridges, tunnels, dams, sewerage systems, pavements, runways, roads and more.

 

Most used hand-made material in the world

Few people realize that concrete is in fact the most used man-made material in the world, with nearly three tons used annually for each man, woman and child. Twice as much concrete is employed around the world than all other building materials together, including wood, steel, plastic and aluminum. For most purposes, none of these other materials can replace concrete in terms of effectiveness, price or performance.

 

5% of the global carbon emissions by the concrete industry require a sustainability plan

Sustainability and resource efficiency are very important aspects for this kind of business area, also since cement industry is responsible for about 5% of the global carbon emissions, and concrete production requires large amounts of water and aggregates.

 

Admixtures make concrete more durable and workable

Sika concrete admixtures are added to concrete mixture in a very small amount, mainly to improve the performance of the concrete in its solid and/or fresh state. Their purpose is to make concrete and construction works more durable and workable by improving water tightness, corrosion resistance and sulfate resistance, prolonging workability time and improving high early strength development.

 

Concrete admixtures improve sustainability of concrete

What is more, concrete admixtures significantly improve the sustainability of concrete. The use of superplasticizers with unchanged concrete properties can reduce the total amount of binder content in the concrete, and alternative additives can be employed to bring down the active clinker content in the cement. Life cycle analysis (LCA) shows that energy demand and the CO2 balance can be improved by over 20%. Finally, the water reduction improves the water balance. To make these positive effects visible, Sika has developed a calculation program (Sika MixDesign calculation), which computes and compares the environmental benefits for each designed concrete.

 

Reduction of water and cement in high-volume concrete

It is a known fact that Sika’s ViscoCrete® superplasticizer technology, based on polycarboxylate ether (PCE), promotes the reduction of water and cement in high-volume concrete, while maintaining or improving its properties. As with most chemical products, these are oil-based materials.  

 

Bio-based version of concrete superplasticizers

To round out the established product range, Sika has developed a bio-based version of its concrete superplasticizers containing by-products from renewable raw materials instead of oil, without compromising on quality. To produce bio-based PCE superplasticizer, polyethylene glycol is synthesized by a unique process using molasses (a by-product of sugar production) as feedstock.

 

The bio-superplasticizer is produced by a by-product that can`t be used for food production

When using plant-based materials to produce biofuels or other chemicals, there is always a question of whether such crops and land should otherwise be used for agriculture and human consumption. However, since these raw materials are obtained from a by-product of sugar production, they are not competing with products which could be used for food production.

 

Superplasticizers on skyscrapers

Sika’s concrete superplasticizers were also applied in the highest broadcasting tower in the world: 634 meters high, the Tokyo Sky Tree is not only the highest broadcasting tower in the world, is also the world’s second tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at roughly 830 meters. Tokyo’s landmark project with its central concrete pillar was built within only 6 months.

 

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