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CHRYSO Revolutionizes Concrete Performance in Extreme Weather

Innovative Admixtures Combat Heat and Cold, Ensuring Durable Constructions

by Oluwatosin Alabi

Concrete, the backbone of modern construction, encounters a unique set of challenges when exposed to extreme temperatures. Whether scorching heat or freezing cold, maintaining the desired strength and workability of concrete becomes a formidable task. Yet, with advancements in construction chemistry, specifically through the use of admixtures, these challenges are not insurmountable. CHRYSO Southern Africa, a leader in construction chemicals, offers innovative solutions to these temperature-induced problems, ensuring that concrete’s integrity remains uncompromised regardless of the weather conditions.

Patrick Flannigan, the Technical Manager at CHRYSO Southern Africa, sheds light on how extreme temperatures affect concrete. During hot conditions, concrete tends to achieve higher initial strength but suffers in terms of long-term strength development. Conversely, cold weather significantly slows down the hydration process, leading to delayed strength gain. This can be particularly problematic when temperatures dip below 5°C, risking extended bleeding or even freezing of the water in the concrete mix, which, if not addressed, could lead to cracking due to the expansion of water upon freezing.

To combat these temperature extremes, CHRYSO offers a range of specialized admixtures. For hot weather conditions, CHRYSO® Tard range of plasticisers is recommended. These retarders slow down the hydration process by temporarily blocking the cement particles’ surface, thus ensuring the concrete remains workable for longer periods. This is crucial for maintaining the concrete’s quality during transportation and placement in high temperatures.

In cold weather, the CHRYSO® XEL range, comprising chloride and non-chloride accelerators, facilitates early strength gain, a critical factor when fighting against the cold’s tendency to retard concrete setting and strength development. Moreover, for environments where freezing water within the concrete is a concern, CHRYSO® Air entrainers introduce additional air into the mix. This ingenious solution creates capillary openings, allowing the freezing water to expand harmlessly, thereby preventing the concrete from cracking.

Extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall and flooding pose additional challenges, particularly when it comes to concrete exposed to standing or flowing water. Protection and finish of such concrete are paramount. CHRYSO’s solution, CHRYSO® Aquabeton, is designed for concrete placements underwater, ensuring that the construction can proceed unhindered, even in the most challenging wet conditions.

Flannigan emphasizes that CHRYSO’s commitment to delivering these high-performance concrete solutions is paralleled by a dedication to sustainability. By developing admixtures tailored to work effectively with various types of cement and construction materials, including those high in clay content, CHRYSO enables the use of locally sourced materials. This not only reduces transportation distances and associated carbon emissions but also supports local economies and minimizes the environmental footprint of construction projects.

The challenges posed by extreme weather conditions on concrete workability and strength can be substantial, but with the right expertise and chemical solutions, they can be effectively managed. CHRYSO Southern Africa’s approach to these challenges is not just about providing technical solutions. It is about pushing the boundaries of construction chemistry to offer products that ensure durability, sustainability, and efficiency in construction practices. As the construction industry continues to evolve, the role of innovative admixtures in overcoming environmental obstacles will undoubtedly grow, marking a new era of resilience and sustainability in construction.

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