HELPING CONCRETE LAST LONGER
Sam Annous, the managing director of Penetron Middle East, explains the bene ts of the company’s innovative crystalline technology that makes concrete waterproof and substantially more durable
Concrete is used on almost every type of construction project across the Middle East region and worldwide. “Billions of cubic meters of concrete are poured or pre-cast every year,” said Sam Annous, the managing director of Penetron Middle East.
“However, this versatile material, strong and capable of withstanding extreme or aggressive environments, is imperfect.
Countless structures deteriorate and fail long before their design life expires. For building owners and builders, this premature loss of concrete structures - and the resulting maintenance and repair
costs - can quickly reach prohibitive cost levels,” he noted.
Concrete is essentially a hard, porous, and absorbent material that can crack and allow water to penetrate easily through pores, micro-cracks, and capillary tracts. This leaves it open to many problems that damage the concrete or the underlying reinforcing steel.
Annous pointed out that this dramatically affects the durability and lifespan of the concrete. In addition, he added that reducing permeability in concrete keeps water and waterborne contaminants out of the concrete matrix.
It has been proven that reducing permeability in concrete keeps water and waterborne contaminants out of the concrete matrix. American Concrete Institute (ACI), in their “Report on Chemical Admixtures for Concrete,” spells out the advantages of a crystalline waterproofing solution as “a superior product to reduce permeability in concrete under hydrostatic pressure (compared to hydrophobic pore blockers and colloidal silica) and thereby significantly increases the durability and lifetime of concrete structures”.
Advantages of an integral waterproofing solution
Annous noted that when added to concrete ready-mix or topically applied to concrete, Penetron’s crystalline technology reacts with key concrete components to form insoluble crystals, which block water molecules (and harmful chemicals) from penetrating the concrete matrix.
Should the concrete be exposed to moisture at any time, the sealing process resumes automatically and advances deeper into the concrete, keeping the concrete impermeable, he pointed out.
“By enhancing the durability of concrete, Penetron products help extend the lifespan of concrete,” Annous said, adding that Penetron-treated concrete shows vastly improved chloride diffusion and sulfate resistance, reduced drying shrinkage, as well as a self-healing capability for hairline cracks.
He also noted that the service life of Penetron-treated concrete is about three times that of conventional concrete.
“Remarkably, Penetron’s crystalline technology can increase concrete durability and extend the service life of a structure by 60 years or more,” noted Annous. “In addition, enhancing the durability of concrete can help reduce the overall carbon footprint of concrete structures.”
According to the “2022 Towards Zero Carbon Concrete” report, published by Penetron earlier this year, integral crystalline waterproofing protection alone can reduce up to 90% of the carbon footprint from the maintenance and repair of concrete structures.
Additionally, the report shows how using durable, waterproof concrete reduces a structure’s carbon footprint by 50% and more by dramatically extending its service life.
These findings are consistent with the ICRI Committee 160, which states that the most effective sustainability strategy for concrete and masonry structures is to avoid the need for repairs.
“By avoiding high-emission liners and membrane systems, extending the life of concrete structures (and avoiding costly repairs), and utilising non-toxic products, builders and owners can make a substantial contribution to more sustainable construction projects,” emphasised Annous.
Providing permanent protection from saltwater
Recently, Penetron Middle East was awarded a significant project – the Arab Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Annous noted that engineers for the new medical centre specified Penetron crystalline technology over a competitive product as the concrete waterproofing solution for the project’s below-grade structures.
He explained: “Located directly on the Abhur Bay waterfront, the hospital’s seaside location presented notable challenges for the project engineers at Zawaya Construction, the project’s general contractor. Due to proximity to the Red Sea, the combination of high groundwater levels at the construction site and the chloride-rich environment required a robust waterproofing solution to prevent deterioration of the below-grade concrete foundation and basement structures.”
PENTRON ADMIX, a crystalline waterproofing admixture, reliably protects concrete structures exposed to marine environments like Abhur Bay. Once added to the mix, PENETRON ADMIX also provides a self-healing capability that will automatically seal any hairline cracks that appear during the lifespan of the concrete when exposed to water. This will effectively minimise the need for any future maintenance for waterproofing at the Arab Hospital.
Meeting new goals
Penetron Middle East works with a network of subsidiaries and distributors to support and supply clients across the GCC region. In Qatar, Penetron works with HEYPEX, which provides concrete protection solutions, construction chemicals, building materials, specialised equipment, tools, and construction services to the industry. Similarly, in UAE, Penetron works with Al Reem Building Materials, which provides concrete protection solutions, construction chemicals, building materials, specialised equipment, tools, and construction services to the industry.
In 2022, HEYPEX and Al Reem became the official distributor of Penetron products in the Qatar and UAE markets, respectively.
In Saudi, Penetron Gulf Trading, provides concrete waterproofing protection solutions. This year, Penetron Gulf Trading took the role of distributing Penetron’s products across Saudi Arabia to certified applicators and waterproofing contractors.
On a concluding note, Annous said: “There is an urgent need for the construction industry to adopt permeability-reducing admixture technology that can effectively waterproof concrete and massively reduce the carbon footprint of projects. Penetron can help meet those goals.”