Concrete is an essential material for building social infrastructure such as skyscrapers, highways, and bridges. Kao is applying the results of research in surfactants science to the development of high functioning chemicals with minimal environmental impact for use in civil engineering and construction.
Concrete is made of water, cement, sand, gravel, and air. The strength of concrete depends on the water and cement ratio. The lower the water-to-cement ratio, the higher the strength of the concrete. At the same time, the workability of concrete is reduced, making it difficult to use in construction.
Kao uses unique technology based on surfactants science to work on this challenge. Kao succeeded in developing concrete admixtures that ensure high flowability even with low water-to-cement ratios by repeatedly analyzing cement slurries as well as the hardening process.
Concrete flowability test
The development of cement dispersant Mighty made it possible to achieve both strength and flowability at the same time. During high economic growth period in Japan, Mighty had contributed to the building of skyscrapers, improved workability, and innovative construction methods. Mighty has continued to evolve and is used in the construction of tunnels, highways, bullet trains, etc.
Test of concrete strength
Also, when constructing tunnels subject to flooding from spring water, waterside seawalls and landfills, the concrete disperses into rivers and oceans, contaminating water. To address this issue, Kao developed the eco-friendly thickener Visco Top at such construction sites.
Visco Top forms high dimensional network with threadlike micelles consisting of two kinds of surfactants. Adding this to concrete prevents the separation of substances that occurs when concrete comes into contact with water. This prevents contamination of the environment.
This technology is utilized in constructing tunnels and repairing important facilities that are seriously affected by spring water. Recognizing the benefits, the Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA) awarded this technology the 49th Technology Special Award in May 2017.
Test of anti-washout ability of cement slurry with Visco Top
Anti-washout performance of cement slurry with Visco Top
Recently, the use of new materials, industrial byproducts, and recycled aggregates is increasing. We have contributed to civil engineering and construction by developing admixtures for safe and durable buildings, as well as researching the use of natural materials. In April 2018, these innovations were awarded the 50th Ichimura Prize in Industry for Distinguished Achievement.
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