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Innovative SuperAbsorbent Polymers for crack mitigation and increased service life of structures
iSAP is a research project that falls under the SHE research program (Self-healing engineered materials: cementitious, polymeric and coating materials with the ability to heal damage autonomously) of The Strategic Initiative Materials ‘SIM’ research centre in Flanders (BE). It fits into the theme of ‘Durable & Sustainable Structural Materials’ that focusses on high performance structural materials with multifunctionality. More specifically it is of relevance in the construction market.
The main goal of the iSAP project is to reduce shrinkage cracks in concrete structures by means of internal curing resulting from the addition of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs). Moreover, the construction elements will possess self-sealing and self-healing behaviour. By introducing the SAPs, the concrete structures should thus experience a prolonged service life.
ChemStream will foresee the partners in the consortium with own developed SAPs to be mixed within the concrete matrices for improving the active internal curing, self-healing and self-sealing properties of the concrete. Cooperation with the Magnel Laboratory at Ghent University, that is specialized in concrete research, will lead to an optimal dosage, swelling potential and particle size of the SAPs. In order to provide SAP powders with well-defined particle sizes ChemStream uses a RETSCH ZM200 centrifugal mill to grind the SAPs into particle size distributions with a D50 varying from 20 to 500 mm.
Figure 1: Retsch centrifugal milling device
For testing their application in the field the SAPs will finally be integrated in large-scale tests that will be constructed by Artes Depret. Therefore, ChemStream will equally upscale the synthesis protocols in order to foresee the partners with batches up to 2 to 3 Kg in scale. Also special attention will be needed to determine the best practices for mixing the SAPs in the real-life concrete mixers at Inter-Beton.
Figure 3: Preparing scaling up protocols of dedicated SAP’s
Project website: http://www.sim-flanders.be/project/isap-icon
With support from:
Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship SIM cluster
Figure 2: Grinded SAP-particles (D50 varying from 20 to 500 µm).