The use of concrete is increasing with the growth in urbanisation. But the concrete industry is also facing challenges, especially due to vertical growth in cities and the mushrooming of high-rise construction.
Dr. Prakash Nanthagopalan, Assistant Professor – Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay, said the concrete industry faced three major challenges while pumping concrete to high-rise projects, such as, blockage of concrete, wear and tear of pipes, and quality of concrete due to pumping and variable pressures among other things.
To overcome these difficulties, Dr. Nanthagopalan suggested proper understanding of concrete. “A high-rise building is a big project; therefore, there should be fundamental understanding of type of concrete, quality of concrete and whether it can be pumped or not.”
Dr. Nanthagopalan was speaking on the sidelines of a one-day national technical seminar on ‘Modern Construction Chemicals and Systems for Construction Industry’ organised by IIT-Bombay and Chryso India in Mumbai recently. The conference was the first of a series of such seminars to be held in various cities across India. The second seminar was held at IIT Delhi on March 24.
Philippe Ortega, Vice Technical Director, Chryso SAS, France, explained that in order to address the challenges of urbanisation in countries like India, the construction industry was continuously pressing the need for more and more concrete projects. Nowadays the highest technical expectations have to be fulfilled even though raw materials vis-à-vis properties often vary. This equation becomes particularly difficult to solve when the concrete has to be pumped, as it normally requires a suitable rheological behaviour, as regular as possible.
Future trends in cement additives
Laurent Guillot, Cement BU Technical Director, Chryso Group, felt that the cement industry was moving forward with new regulations being implemented around the world. In India, the trend is to proceed through new cement with further optimised compositions (evolution of BIS or Indian Standards). The use of higher amounts of substitute cementitious materials (hence lower clinker contents) may require the use of powerful activators. These activators have to be designed to focus their chemical activation on correct timing, according to the clinker, cementitious additions and reactivity. This will probably lead to a new generation of activators, he noted.
Parallel with this trend, the cement grinding process technology is also moving forward. NewMumbai designs (pre-grinding systems and mills\separators) are being promoted and implemented. This will enable further optimisation of grinding energy costs. These specific processes will also require dedicated solutions.
The cement world is continuously evolving and cement additives cannot be disassociated from the cement, the processes and the alternative cementitious materials. Evolution of any one of these key drivers will require optimisation of the interactions with the cement additive in order to achieve optimum cost-effective performance, Guillot added.
Chryso, a global leader in the field of construction chemicals, offers high-performance additives for cement, admixtures for concrete, full product portfolio for construction systems, and a range of products for industrial applications. Chryso India offers a complete range of high-quality admixtures from its production facilities. It has made significant investments at its plants in Alwar, Rajasthan; Chennai, Tamil Nadu; Kolkata, West Bengal; and Vapi, Gujarat.