Concrete Products

APR 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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www.concreteproducts.com April 2018 • 51 INNOVATIONS REPORT FORM RELEASE AGENTS Biodegradable form release agents at work in architectural (oppo- site page) and structural precast concrete production. PHOTOS: Nox-Crete Inc. Inherently biodegradable: The product is capable of biodegrad- ing from as low as 20 percent to less than 60 percent in 28 days. Such products will achieve less biodegradation than readily biodegradable products in the same time span, but eventually they all get to the same place. Both readily and inherently biodegradable products include mate- rials that come from nature and therefore, it is assumed, will return to nature as long as their natural forms haven't been too greatly altered. However, as mentioned before, this will depend on where the materials end up. Even materials like leaves, banana peels or paper— each inherently biodegradable in soil in an aerobic (where oxygen is present) environment—will fail to biodegrade when dumped in a landfill or other anaerobic (lacking oxygen) environment. Ultimately biodegradable: This third classification basically rec- ognizes that everything (or nearly everything) will eventually achieve ultimate biodegradation, even if it takes centuries. For example, given sunlight, air and water, a paper towel can biodegrade in two to five months. Nylon fabric could take three to four decades under the same conditions. A glass bottle will biodegrade in about 1 million years, while a plastic bottle buried in a landfill is here forever. In many cases, the environment is already contaminated by the time the degrading process begins. BIODEGRADABLE RELEASE AGENTS As with any industry, concrete interests have set federal guide- lines for classifying products as eco-friendly. Just as federal VOC regulations are put in place to protect the ozone, biodegradability standards are in place to protect land and water from contamina- tion. Keep in mind, states can apply more stringent requirements. Water-based release agents are suitable for most concrete form surfaces to include steel, plastic, fiberglass and bare or over- laid plywood. They can be used on many rubber and closed cell foam forms and are safe for use in enclosed building sites. Water- based formulations are free of conventional form oil, diesel oil and kerosene. Because they are water-based, these release agents are susceptible to freezing, usually require mixing before use, and can have a shorter shelf life due to emulsion. While water-based release agents are typically inherently biodegradable, they are not always readily biodegradable. Even a water-based formulation must meet the EPA requirements of the 28-day half-life of 60 percent or more to be considered readily biodegradable. Petroleum-based release agents are suitable on many form surfaces to include plywood, steel and aluminum forms and pallets. Petroleum-based formulations are usable in all weather conditions, including below-zero temperatures. They require no mixing and have a longer shelf life. While most petroleum-based release agents could be considered inherently biodegradable, not all are. Some, incorporating proprietary blends of petroleum and vegetable oils into the formulation, have actually been determined to be readily biodegradable. When temperatures allow, an environmentally responsible, water- based release agent can produce smooth, uniform concrete surfaces without staining and with minimal surface voids while providing a crisp, positive release. When temperatures fall below freezing, a petroleum-based release agent is the next best choice. With proper research and due diligence, concrete producers and contractors can find an environmentally responsible option that yields quality results in a readily or inherently biodegradable formulation. Patrick Linn is the Precast Segment Manager at Nox-Crete Products Group in Omaha, Neb., and can be reached at plinn@nox-crete.com; 402/341-2080; www.nox-crete.com D e s i e d f o r Versat il it y. With our CentroMix plants, higher-quality, consistent concrete is not only possible, it's Profitable! Advanced Concrete Technologies is the American Division of Wiggert & Co. GmbH www.concretebiz.com 603.431.5661 d f ENGINEERED IN GERMANY INSTALLED IN NORTH AMERICA

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