Mortars for the Millions

Fast-Setting Flooring

In order to achieve a fast-setting, smooth and highly abrasion-resistant cover for the concrete floor of the galleries, VINNAPAS® modified self-leveling compounds were used.

Only with dispersible polymer powders can such self-leveling compounds greatly simplify all types of flooring work: irregularities can be smoothed out and a hard-wearing base created in a single operation. “That not only yields a better quality floor surface, but also improves its resilience and adhesion,” explains WACKER manager Fagundes. Additionally, less material is needed and drying times are shortened. The material is thinner and hardens faster - so the floor can be walked on sooner.

The smooth architectural concrete galleries of the Beira-Rio stadium are but one example of the many ways in which advanced building technologies benefit building execution and quality. As the various economies of the world become increasingly globalized, more and more buildings are springing up everywhere. Annual global construction activity is set to increase to 15 trillion US dollars by 2025, up by more than 70 percent. Especially in the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, demand for high-quality construction chemicals is surging – it was these products that made modern construction technologies possible in the first place, one example being the use of polymeric binders to modify dry-mix mortars.

The global potential for WACKER’s VINNAPAS® product line is thus enormous: “About 80 percent of the dry-mix mortar on the global market is still unmodified,” says Dr. Christoph Riemer, head of the Construction Polymers Business Unit at WACKER. “In many regions, and particularly in growth markets, building specialists have only just begun to familiarize themselves with the benefits of polymer-modified dry-mix mortars. And consequently, we have optimized our global offerings.”

Not all Cement is the Same

To expand the market for innovative construction chemicals, WACKER has built up a network of Technical Centers around the world, including the one in South America. At WACKER POLYMERS in Brazil, Cristiane Fagundes and her twelve-strong team deal with queries related to mortars, and helping customers to enhance their existing recipes because the composition of mortars varies from region to region.

“The greatest regional difference concerns the various types of cement – unlike in Western Europe, where mainly pure Portland cement is used” explains Fagundes. The cements used in South America which are modified with blast furnace slags and pozzolan additives completely change the properties of ceramic tile adhesives, for example. So-called blast-furnace cement and ground-granulated blast-furnace slag are also used in western Europe especially where the modifying properties of these additives are required in the manufacture of concrete. For instance, when the cement has to be highly dense and durable in order to withstand the corrosive impact of road salt and acids. By contrast, manufacturers generally formulate dry-mix mortars for sophisticated construction markets with pure Portland cement. WACKER experts therefore first study the chemical and physical properties of the raw materials in their labs so that they can precisely tailor the polymer-modified dry-mix mortars to the applications and requirements specific to a particular region.