Sustainable Concrete that Lasts
Creating sustainable concrete that can withstand the test of time is always the challenge for any concrete company. At Permacast Precast Concrete Fencing & Walls, we are always looking for ways to improve the quality, durability and sustainability of our products. When problems like the issue of extreme temperature changes arise, we want to find the answers that will satisfy our most invested supporters. That’s why we’re excited about anti-freeze proteins and the difference they can make in the life of a slab of concrete.
Need for Sustainability
We know our customers and your clients want a durable product that will last. Using sustainable materials means lowering the cost to the consumer while providing top-notch security with a quality product. Not only is this an individual decision on the part of the builder and client, but we also see this as a global issue that should be addressed now. The trends we see as we move into the future include using concrete more and more as cities are created and expanded to accommodate our ever-growing world population. As accessible as concrete has become, this makes sense. But it also means that now more than ever we must be vigilant in our sustainability practices so that the structures we build today will endure long-term.
The Problem of Extreme Temperature Changes
One specific issue we’ve had trouble solving in the past includes the rapid change between extreme temperatures. Because of concrete’s porous nature, water is able to permeate- and ideally, flow through- concrete. However, in regions with extreme temperatures, especially below freezing temperatures, the water in concrete often freezes, causing it to expand. As the ice and water freeze and melt in a freeze-thaw cycle, the concrete is weakened until the expanding molecules eventually break the surface of the concrete. This leads to entire buildings and other structures becoming unstable and eventually crumbling- the exact problem sustainability hopes to resolve.
A Strong Solution of Anti-Freeze Proteins
Thanks to studies of tiny organisms that can survive in sub-zero temperatures, new molecules called polyethylene glycolgraft-polyvinyl alcohol (PEG-PVA) molecules have been identified by researchers as a substance that will keep ice crystals isolated and prevent them from coalescing into larger crystals. This protein mimics those found in the sub-zero-surviving organisms, and has been proven to reduce the size of ice crystals in concrete by 90%. After 300 freeze-thaw cycles, the concrete mixed with PEG-PVA had not weakened at all but maintained its original strength. This is a huge development in the world of admixtures that will keep the original strength of the concrete intact longer.
By including these new proteins in our admixture, we expect to see even longer-lasting and more sustainable precast concrete structures and buildings, taking us confidently into the future. Join us at Permacast Precast Concrete Fencing & Walls as we continuously tap into the newest and most relevant research for our industry. Our products are built to last and we stand by that promise at every step of the process.