Construction Week


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.”

Enhancing sustainabi­lity

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.”

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 ?? ?? Sam Annous, managing director, Penetron Middle East.
Sam Annous, managing director, Penetron Middle East.

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