Conservation of the 20th Century Concrete-based Cultural Heritage: Innovative Materials, Procedures and Awareness.

InnovConcrete: Exploitation Strategic Seminar lead by Sika
Image: InnovaConcrete: Exploitation Strategic Seminar lead by Sika

Sika has been a project partner of the InnovaConcrete project, a European initiative that started in 2018 and was led by the University of Cádiz. The InnovaConcrete project focused on the development of innovative techniques to preserve concrete-based monuments and on raising awareness of the importance of concrete in the built heritage.

Within this project, Sika has assumed the responsibility to design product profiles and suitable systems/build ups to introduce advanced materials specifically designed for the conservation of 20th century cultural concrete heritage preservation into different exploitable business cases. Innovaconcrete has been an interdisciplinary a balanced world expert panel composed of 29 partners from 11 countries.

Treatment and preservation of reinforced concrete

As a result of this project, different technologies suitable for the treatment of reinforced concrete, together with complementary techniques for the treatment of every kind of cementitious substrates were addressed and evaluated in real applications on different concrete-based monuments and buildings. An exhaustive monitoring, characterization and in-situ validation of results gave a real dimension of its potential and level of differentiation with the current state of the art. 

In collaboration with some key partners, especially with the University of Cádiz, Sika contributed to the proposal of innovative technologies consisting of a versatile and modular platform to synthetize a range of functionalized materials, all of them based on the formation of C-S-H (calcium silicate hydrate), the main product of the hydration of Portland cement and primarily responsible for the strength in cement-based materials.

In the aftermath of the InnovaConcrete project, the collaboration will continue to enlarge and refine this modular system to cover other complementary functionalities such as corrosion inhibition, self-cleaning, antifouling and other properties still under assessment.

The European Commission's Innovation Radar has recognised Sika's relevant role into the dynamization of innovation in the European Union based on results delivered on the InnovaConcrete project. 

Superhydrophobic (hydrophobic and water repellent) surfaces
Image: Superhydrophobic (hydrophobic & water repellent) surface
Preserving Concrete Structures
Image: Preserving Concrete Structures

Objectives of the project 

  • Use of multi-scale modelling approaches for developing innovative solutions for preserving concrete heritage. 
  • Development of long-lasting, practical and affordable conservation products and techniques specifically designed for preserving concretes.
  • Effective consolidation will be achieved by producing calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) gel, in situ, in the concrete structure, by applying impregnation treatments.
  • Innovative corrosion inhibitors, developed to avoid corrosion of reinforcing bar (rebar), will be included in the consolidants. 
  • Superhydrophobic (hydrophobic and water repellent) surfaces will be produced on concrete by modifying the previously described consolidant synthesis.