As structures that are exposed to severe loading and environmental conditions, bridges are important to maintain and preserve.
Extending the life of infrastructure reduces the need for costly and intensive rehabilitations or replacements, both financially and environmentally. It also maintains safety for drivers and pedestrians that use these bridges daily and helps construction crews by getting them off the roads quicker.
With the US currently benefiting from up to $1.2 trillion in funding from the US Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), there’s support for the country’s ageing infrastructure and the refurbishment of roads and bridges. With one in three bridges in the US currently needing repairs or replacements, it’s funding that’s important.
In order to ensure infrastructure construction and renovation remains secure, materials need to prioritize performance, ease of use, safety, and sustainability.
As a material that’s been used in infrastructure for over five decades, latex modified concrete (LMC) reduces the amount of water needed to achieve desired viscosity, works to resist the penetration of oil, water, and salts, provides skid resistance, and helps new concrete stick to the old.
It’s used to replace weakened, deteriorated, and chlorine-contaminated portions of existing decks and serves as a structural wearing surface that can be applied as an overlay or inlay/overlay combination.
By using LMC, there’s protection against the salt solution, extending the life of the bridge and preventing degradation.
Technical Specialist at BASF
“With LMC, especially during the winter months when it snows, they use salt solutions, which causes the bridge to deteriorate over time,” says Darrell Brevard, Technical Specialist at BASF. “By using LMC, there’s protection against the salt solution, extending the life of the bridge and preventing degradation.”
Introducing high-performance polymers
BASF's STYROFAN 1186 is a styrene-butadiene emulsion polymer that is mixed with coarse and fine aggregates, cement, and water with a mobile mixer to create LMC on site. Usable in LMC Portland Cement (Type I, II, or III) and very early set (VES) LMC, it’s a solution with great bonding properties that reduces water usage and chloride permeability.
As something that must be compatible with mix designs using cement, sand, and stone across the US, it meets various state Department of Transportation (DoT) specifications and is effective in a range of climates.
It’s also malleable, and Brevard adds that “as some of the specifications for cements change or environmental concerns with cement change over time, STYROFAN is able to adapt to those changes. For example, converting from Portland Type I/II cement to Portland Type IL limestone cement (PLC).” Because of market and government demands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the cement industry is currently transitioning to increase the use of PLC in an effort to become more carbon neutral.
Angela Young, Market Segment Manager at BASF, says there’s an environmental benefit too. “We’re continuously monitoring the chemicals in our products and collaborating with our customers to ensure our products are safe and sustainable for end consumers,” she says. “With this product, the main sustainability feature is that we extend the life of bridges rather than go ahead and completely reconstruct the bridge.”
To date, BASF has created an impressive portfolio of LMC success stories. As well as using it in the replacement of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge’s bridge deck overlay, STYROFAN 1186 was used on the South Carolina’s Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, and Seattle's Third Lake Washington Bridge, one of the largest floating bridges in the world.
Read more about how BASF’s products save millions of dollars in repair costs and STYROFAN 1186’s product highlights. Reach out to the BASF team to request a sample or to learn more about how we can support you in this space.