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Understanding Integral Waterproofing(II Crystallince Waterproofing)

How it Works
Integral waterproofing products are marketed under a dozen or more different brand names. While the chemical composition of each is slightly different, they all are either densifiers, repellants or crystalline admixtures. Densifiers fill the microscopic pores in the concrete matrix to eliminate water infiltration. Water repellants make the concrete hydrophobic. Crystalline admixtures cause microscopic, water-blocking crystals to seal pores and hairline fractures. 
Here’s a detailed look of how each of these techniques work, as well as the distinct advantages each method offers.
Densifiers: Densifiers use pozzolans—usually silica fume or other silicates—to fill the pores in the concrete matrix. Silica fume is an industrial byproduct created in the refining of silicon metal and its alloys. In its original form, silicone dioxide is extremely fine— about 1/100th the size of the average Portland cement particle—and has the same consistency as cigarette smoke.
These particles are captured, condensed, and sold as a concrete additive.


Crystalline Waterproofing: The third major class of integral waterproofing is crystalline technology. In the presence of water, the ingredients of these products react with calcium hydroxide and other by-products of cement hydration to form non-soluble crystals that fill and plug the pores and microcracks in concrete—even years after it was poured. 
Crystalline products can be applied in several different ways (see sidebar page 17), but adding it to the mix at the batch plant is the most common.

Xypex’s Faure states, “Adding crystalline waterproofing treatment to the concrete mix at the batch plant ensures that the crystalline formation occurs uniformly throughout the structure, rather than penetrating from the surface, as would be the case with a surface application. The admixture reduces the rate of water loss in fresh concrete, resulting in less shrinkage and increased compressive strength. 
He adds that, unlike many coatings and membranes, crystalline products are so safe they have been approved for use inside tanks that hold drinking water.

Crystalline admixtures are also self-healing, reacting throughout the life of the concrete structure to automatically seal cracks up to half a millimeter wide. This is especially useful on large concrete pours, as it is enough to waterproof most cold joints with no additional treatment needed.

Crystalline waterproofing is also extremely durable, and in laboratory tests have withstood up to 200 psi. That’s 460 feet of hydrostatic pressure. Crystalline waterproofing is preferable to use in any project where the concrete will be subjected to hydrostatic pressure



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