High-performance polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete esters: principle of action, factors affecting their effectiveness in concrete; possibilities of application in modern concrete production technologies.
Over the past decade, polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete (PCE) have become an example of the successful implementation of new technology in the production of concrete. Having started their way in the production of self-compacting concrete, they gradually penetrated into the field of precast concrete. Step by step, these additives began to be actively used by manufacturers of ready-mixed concrete and, last but not least, by manufacturers of precast concrete products.
Due to the specific action of PCE.plasticizers, concrete producers can obtain products with improved characteristics and optimize the production process, both from an economic and environmental point of view. Depending on the chemical structure of polymers and how they work, PCE polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete can be designed specifically for specific applications. In the production of precast concrete, polymers with long side chains produce a product with high early curing rates.
The backbone of the polymer can be optimized by modifying the electrical charge density to achieve maximum performance (maximum long-term) workability of ready mixed concrete mixes. To fully develop its properties in concrete, the PCE polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete must be compatible with other components of the concrete mixture. The chemical composition of the cements used in the production of the mixture, and in particular their sulfate content, can significantly affect the effectiveness of additives. The type of filler sand can also affect the performance of the polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete. Due to the chemical structure, the polymer particles are easily incorporated into the clay layers if the clay is present as an impurity in the sand, and thus can lose effectiveness significantly. Knowledge of the properties and specific behavior of PCE polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete allows manufacturers to fully exploit the benefits of PCE technology.
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) and ultra-high performance concrete (UHEC) can only be obtained using PCE polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete. In the production of standard high-strength concretes, additives replace the traditional products used, due to their wide variety and high efficiency.
polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete esters – from development to the present
The development of polycarboxylate superplasticizers for concrete esters (PCE) is very closely related to self-compacting concrete (SCC). In the early 1980s, the first patent was filed in Japan for this group of substances and their use as superplasticizers for concrete. In the mid-1980s, the first projects using polycarboxylate esters and self-compacting concrete were launched in Japan. The most famous of the objects are, first of all, the bridge across the bay in Tokyo (Tokio Bay Bridge) and the central high-rise buildings in Tokyo (Tokio Central Towers). It took another 10 years before these products appeared in Europe in the mid-90s. Since that time, the process has moved very quickly: the development of new products has provided the market with access to polycarboxylate esters and their use as concrete admixtures.
Thanks to the special properties of this class of substances, their exceptional efficiency and their diversity, over the next 10 years, polycarboxylate esters won more than half of the market volume in the field of plasticizers and superplasticizers in Western Europe. At first, the main area of application of PCE_superplasticizers was the production of prefabricated elements. In this case, the strong thinning effect, the significant increase in the early strength of concretes when using these products and the use of self-compacting concretes played a decisive role.
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