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8/1/2017 ChemCo Systems | Tech Links | Introduction to Construction Polymers

Featured Products Intro to Construction Polymers

CCS Bonders
CCS Injection
How did construction polymers get their names?
CCS Grouts
CCS Coatings Epoxies From the epoxy groups in these resins which are capable of establishing
CCS Binders links to the hardener.
Coating and Crack Polyurethanes From the name of the link (urethane) that is formed when isocyanate
Quantity Calculator group containing resins and resins containing hydroxyl groups (polyols)
react.
Product Spec Template
Polyureas From the name of the link (urea) that is formed when isocyanate group
containing resins and resins containing amine groups react.
Acrylics From the name of the acid (acrylic acid) which is common in all of these
products.
Projects
Silanes From the chemical name of these products.
Tech Links
- FAQ's Siloxanes From the name of the partial hydrolysis products of silanes.
- Structural Concrete Repair Silicones From the name of the hydrolysis end-product of silanes and siloxanes.
- Crack Injection Specification Latex From the name of the chemical used to make the polymer. A latex is a
- Surface Preparation polymers water emulsion of such polymers.
- Bonding Old-to-New
Concrete
> Intro to Construction What determines the characteristic properties of construction
Polymers
- Plate Bonding
polymers?
- Coating Guide The bulk of the product and not the reactive sites determine properties. On a molecular
scale the bulk of the resin (and hardener) can be compared to more or less cross-linked
chains made out of flexible or hard links which have additional hooks attached. These
hooks establish links to other chains in the curing step. The end-products can range from
totally linear, endlessly long chains to completely cross-linked, short chain, three
dimensional networks. Linearity of the chains in these products brings about elastic
behavior, while a three-dimensional array of the links is rigid.

Key advantages and disadvantages of certain construction


polymers

Polymer Advantage Disadvantage


type
Epoxy High strength, HDT, Bonds to wet surface, May yellow
(100% Excellent chemical resistance, Low cure Slow cure
solids) shrinkage
Epoxy (water Low viscosity, Environmentally friendly, Yellows, Limited chemical
dispersions) Easy clean-up resistance, Slow cure
Polyurethane Flexible, Tough, Abrasion resistant Poor bond, Moisture caused
gas formation, May yellow
Polyurea Flexible, Tough, Abrasion resistant Fast Limited bond, Needs primer in
cure critical use, Limited chemical
resistance, Yellows

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8/1/2017 ChemCo Systems | Tech Links | Introduction to Construction Polymers
Polyester Tough, Best chemical resistance, Good Shrinks, Need primers,
(Vinylester) overlay material Styrene odor, Toxicity concerns
Acrylics Don't yellow, Low viscosity, Fast cure, Odor, Some are brittle,
(reactive) Reactive concrete consolidants when Expensive, Cure can be
epoxy injection is too expensive inhibited, Low chemical resist
Acrylic latex Best cement product modifier, Limited freeze-thaw, Low
Permeability, Environmental resistance chemical resist
Silicone Best long life sealant, Color stability, No Expensive, May need primer
resins age hardening
Silanes Best penetrants, Low viscosity, Breathable Surface cracks a problem

Material Properties and Behavior

Most construction polymers have


thermoset character. Exceptions are
very flexible epoxies, some
polyurethanes, polyureas, hybrids of
these materials and some latex
polymers. They are thermoplastic or
nearly so.

Thermoset polymers products are


made up of highly cross-linked
molecular elements, maintain their
shape when heated, but do not melt.
Above about 240 to 300 F they
decompose. Thermoset polymers are
rigid (high modulus of elasticity), somewhat brittle at low temperature and have limited
flexibility at higher temperatures. The mid-point of the temperature range at which the
transition from rigid to flexible takes place is called the glass transition temperature.

The Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT) is a simple indicator of the glass transition
temperature. Most construction polymers have a HDT in the range between 65 and 120F.
At temperatures in and above the glass transition region, construction polymers subjected
to high loads will deform which leads to loss of bond and ultimate failure of the application.

The fact that many construction polymers are used in the glass transition temperature
range should always be considered when recommending a material. Know the HDT of the
product you want to use. Many failures can be traced to a disregard of the material
behavior changes that occur in this temperature region.

Significantly below the HDT (~20F)


thermoset polymers can withstand
substantial loads without deformation
(creep) which is the basis for their use
in construction (crack repair, bolt and
dowel grouting, bonding applications).

Except for truly elastomeric products


all construction polymers have more
or less pronounced visco-elastic
character. When stressed they do not
entirely respond in the manner an
elastic body(spring) would and they
don't flow in the manner of a liquid
(response like a shock absorber to a
bump).

The response of a construction polymer to a stress (load) is partly elastic and partly of
viscous nature. The prevalence of each of the components in response to a stress (load)
depends on the composition of the polymer, the stress level, the stress exposure duration,
and temperature. Short term loads generate a quick elastic response. The response to
long term loads is seen in creep which is a form of viscous flow.

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As a consequence of their visco-elastic nature, construction polymers have time and
temperature dependent properties.
Typical rigid stress-strain behavior at
low temperature changes to
elastomeric behavior at high
temperature, while increased in strain
rate at a given temperature produce a
increasingly rigid response. All visco-
elastic construction polymers have
temperature ranges where they are
rigid or flexible. The glass transition
temperature separates the two
ranges.

In structural applications, it is
important that the construction
polymer does not creep under sustained load. The tendency to creep depends on the load
level and the prevailing temperature. Each material has an envelope where creep does
not produce failure at a given temperature and load level.

Construction polymers used in "load bearing" applications should have a high HDT. When
such polymers are subjected to permanent loads, particularly when these loads have a
high shear component, the surrounding structure element should always remain at least
20 F below the HDT. In critical applications and as a safety measure in case of a fire
thermal protection should be provided. In recognition of the material performance needs in
load bearing applications, ChemCo products were deliberately designed to have higher
HDTs than are typically offered by the industry.

Thermoplastic polymers melt when


heated and return to their original
state when cooled again, unless they
were heated to a point above their
decomposition temperature. Their
glass transition temperature is very
low (< -40 F). Thermoplastic and
slightly cross-linked thermoplastics
have largely predictable properties in
normal construction polymer use
temperatures because they are used
above their glass transition
temperature. Exceptions are
polymers with crystalline segments
within their molecular structure that melt in this region. They are more or less elastic (low
modulus of elasticity) and get largely employed for this property (elastomer membranes,
joint materials, roofing compositions, seals).

Liquid/Solid Transition during Cure - Cure shrinkage

When a liquid solidifies (except water) a contraction ensues. This contraction is called cure
shrinkage and is inevitable unless counteracted (which is difficult and very expensive).
Cure shrinkage varies among types of polymers:

Type Volume Shrinkage, % Linear Shrinkage, %


Epoxy 4-5 0.1
Acrylic 6-9 0.2
Polyester 9 - 14 1.0
Polyurea 7 - 10 0.3

Volume shrinkage during cure is of significance when the curing construction polymer is in
a confined space (void, gap, crack, joint, patch) and documents itself by a meniscus
formation on the surface.

Linear shrinkage is an indication of the true shrinkage which takes place after the curing
liquid has no longer enough mobility to flow to compensate for the shrinking volume. This

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form of shrinkage stresses the bond between the substrate and the construction polymer
and can lead to bond or in extreme cases to substrate surface failure.

Flexible systems can respond to cure


shrinkage by getting into a partial
state of extension, which in time
relieves itself by viscous flow ("stress
relief"). Rigid, high modulus systems
respond by placing significant stress
on the bond line or in the substrate
surface that can lead to bond-line or
substrate failure. To compensate for
cure shrinkage many rigid systems
are extended with inorganic fillers (or
sometimes aggregates by the
contractor) that reduce the volume
fraction of the polymer.

Exotherm
The cure of construction polymers is normally associated with heat formation (exotherm).
In cross-linked, thermoset systems this phenomenon places an additional stress on the
bond-line/substrate surface, because the product sets in a temperature expanded state
which comes into play when the product cools to the normal ambient.

Thermal Expansion Coefficient

Construction polymers have an expansion coefficient that is 4 - 10 times larger than that of
concrete. When bonded to a concrete substrate this difference can cause failures when
significant temperature variations are encountered. Rigid, high HDT construction polymer
installations are most prone to fail under these circumstances, unless heat formation
during cure, the bond-line thickness and the polymer volume fraction are properly
controlled. Aggregate filling (often up to 90% by weight) can shift the epoxy system
expansion coefficient to nearly the same as that of concrete.

Combined Effects of
Polymer Volume Fraction,
Expansion Coefficient,
Exotherm, Cure Shrinkage
and Modulus.
In specifying use of a particular
construction polymer for critical
application, the potential for
significant interaction of the material's
expansion coefficient, the mass
involved, the exotherm on cure, the
cure shrinkage and its modulus (and
change with temperature) must be
considered.

Physical Properties

Concrete Construction Polymer


Structural Flexible Elastomeric
Modulus of Elasticity 4,000,000 400,000 60,000 600
Expansion Coefficient .000,004 .000,02 .000,04 .000,05
Tensile Strength 400 8,000 1,500 1,500
Elongation nil 1-2 35-100 400
Shear Strength 800 1,500 1,200 NA
Flexural Strength 1,200 4,000 NA NA
Compressive Strength 4,000 14,000 5,000 NA

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