March 4, 2014
Innovative microsphere-based admixture technology for freeze-thaw durability eliminates the need for air-entrained concrete
New technology from BASF’s Master Builders Solutions brand addresses a common production challenge for concrete professionals
The Admixture Systems business of BASF's North American Construction Chemicals division today announced a breakthrough technology for freeze-thaw durability that eliminates the need for air-entrained concrete. This patent-pending, microsphere-based admixture and point-of-use manufacturing system is being developed to help concrete professionals overcome the challenges traditionally associated with the variability and uncertainty of producing air-entrained concrete.
Microspheres are extremely small, hollow spheres that have a highly resilient, tough, but flexible, polymeric shell. Similar to entrained air, they provide stress relief zones for the expansion of freezing water within
concrete, enhancing its long-term durability.
However, unlike traditional air entrainment, microspheres are not
susceptible to variations in ambient conditions, concreting materials,
construction practices and other factors that often impact the air void
system in concrete. In addition, the compressive strength of concrete
treated with the microsphere-based admixture technology can be over 30
percent higher than an air-entrained concrete, because of the difference
in air content. This results in opportunities to optimize concrete mixtures
for performance and sustainability.
"Microspheres are manufactured at the producer’s plant to provide consistent, stable performance, every time,” said Paul Seiler, Technology Manager, Admixture Systems for BASF in North America. “They are dispensed and uniformly mixed into concrete at a fixed dosage and are the optimal size for freeze-thaw durability.”
Dry microspheres have been used successfully in Europe for many years
in niche concrete applications. However, their widespread use has been
limited due to the cost of delivery. The point-of-use manufacturing system
BASF has developed makes it economically feasible to use this proven
microsphere technology for freeze-thaw durability of concrete.
"Up until now, air entrainment has been the state-of-the-art technology for
freeze thaw durability of concrete," said Juan Alfonso Garcia, Vice
President, Admixture Systems, for BASF in North America. "But concrete
professionals deserve a technology that is more stable and predictable
no matter what the environmental conditions may be. Our global team
has spent seven years developing this game-changing technology to give
our customers more control so they can dose their concrete and be done
BASF plans to commercialize the microsphere-based admixture
technology in 2015.
For media inquiries and editorial contributions, please contact:
Marketing Communications Manager for Admixture Systems
(cement additives, concrete admixtures and underground construction)