Concrete Additives used by DOT for highway construction

Cement Additives and Concrete Admixtures for Highway and Road Construction

With over 4 million miles of highways and roads in the United States and 40 million miles globally, demand for cement continues to rise. Science and research now play a more prominent role in the cement and concrete industries to make modern-day concrete stronger, more durable, and better suited to application and location. Several companies specialize in chemical and mineral cement additives and concrete admixtures that significantly enhance concrete’s fresh and hardened properties.

Highway and Road Construction with Concrete

Highway and road systems endure some of the greatest stress exposures of any concrete system, including freeze/thaw cycling, varying weight loads, constant exposure to water and corrosive chemicals, significant earth movement, and impact and abrasion damage from vehicles. In addition, road systems often include bridges, drainage, and retention or stabilization features with additional requirements placed upon the concrete to be poured or shot.

Each state’s Department of Transportation, or DOT, maintains a large percentage of the highway and road systems in the United States. As a result, more paved miles are added each year, requiring larger budgets to maintain older pavements. Using cement and concrete enhanced with additives and admixtures produces stronger, more durable roads that last longer, requiring fewer maintenance dollars per mile.

Strong Concrete

Strong concrete often refers to compressive strength or the weight in pounds per square inch (PSI) that it can resist in compressive loading, as in a concrete support column. Concrete is generally allowed to cure for a standard 28 days before compressive testing of samples cast during construction or cored from the structure is performed. Most newly constructed concrete roads will specify minimum 3,000 PSI compressive strength at 28 days, though heavier highway projects may require greater compressive strength. Flexural strength measures the strength of the concrete under a “bending” load, like laying a beam across a gap and measuring how much load can be placed in the middle before the beam breaks. The compressive and flexural strength of the concrete together with the dimensions of the concrete structure determine the load-bearing capability. Chemical and mineral admixtures are used to increase the compressive strength of concrete, which can reduce the amount of concrete required to achieve required load-bearing specifications.

Durable Concrete

The durability of a concrete road surface is complex, but generally refers to the road surface’s resistance to scaling, abrasion, and cracking. Factors affecting the durability or toughness of concrete include:

  • Permeability, which is the rate at which air, water, and other substances can enter the concrete matrix.
  • Freeze/thaw crack resistance, which is the ability of the concrete to resist cracking from water expansion during freeze/thaw cycles.
  • Drying and plastic shrinkage cracking, which is the tendency of concrete to contract during the initial curing process when it is still wet, which can lead to spider-web cracking or larger cracks.
  • Abrasion resistance, which is the ability of the concrete surface to resist dragging/sliding and impact exposure.
  • Scaling resistance, which is the ability of the concrete to resist surface scaling, usually due to freeze/thaw exposure or overapplication of deicing chemicals.

Numerous admixtures are available to address each of the above, but it is important to determine admixture compatibility, as not all products can be used together to achieve the optimal durability required for highway and road construction. While admixtures can significantly improve the durability of concrete, site preparation, reinforcement, expansion cuts, surface slope, and finishing all play critical roles as well.

Cement Additives and Concrete Admixtures: Comparison Chart

Provided below is a cement additive and concrete admixture comparison chart outlining the manufacturers, products, and purposes of various admixtures.

Benefit

Type

Manufacturer Product Durability Strength Lower Permeability Abrasion Resistance Freeze / Thaw Resistance Scaling Resistance Spalling Reduction Shrinkage Reduction Crack Reduction Corrosion Inhibitor Accelerator Set Retardant Water Reducing Plasticizer Hydration Stabilizer Air Entraining
Eden Innovations Edencrete®              
Sika® SikaControl® SRA                              
SikaControl® AER                            
SikaFume®                              
Sika® FerroGard®                              
Sika® FerroGard®-903 Plus                              
Sika® Antisol®                            
SikaFiber®                            
Sika® ViscoCrete®                          
SikaPlast®                          
SikaRapid®                            
Sikagard® -705 L/-706 Thixo                            
                               
Euclid Chemical EUCON AEA-92                            
EUCON AEA-92S                          
EUCON AIR 40                          
EUCON AIR MAC 6                          
EUCON AIR MAC 12                          
EUCON AIR MIX                          
EUCON AIR MIX 200                          
EUCON AIR MIX 250                          
ACCELGUARD® HE                            
ACCELGUARD® STANDARD                            
ACCELGUARD® 80                            
ACCELGUARD® 90                            
ACCELGUARD® NCA                            
ACCELGUARD® G3                            
EUCON LR                      
EUCON NR                      
EUCON RETARDER 75                      
EUCON RETARDER 100                      
EUCON A+                        
EUCON DX                            
EUCON LW                      
EUCON NR                    
EUCON NW                        
EUCON WR                        
EUCON WR 75                        
EUCON WR 91                        
EUCON WRX                        
EUCON SE                      
EUCON INTEGRAL ARC                            
EUCON CIA                              
EUCON BCN                              
EUCON MR                          
EUCON MRX                          
EUCON X15                          
EUCON X20                        
PLASTOL 341                      
PLASTOL 341S                      
PLASTOL 6420                      
EUCON 1037                            
EUCON 37                            
EUCON 537                        
EUCON SP                          
EUCON SPJ                          
PLASTOL 5700                            
PLASTOL 6200EXT                            
PLASTOL 6420                        
PLASTOL SPC                            
PLASTOL ULTRA 209                            
BASF Master Builders MasterGlenium SKY                          
MasterLife 300D                              
MasterLife 222                              
MasterSet Delvo                          
​MasterPel 05                          
MasterPolyheed                            
MasterPozzolith                            
MasterFiber                              
MasterAir                          
MasterRoc MS                            
MasterSure                              
GCP Technologies TYTRO® WR                            
STRUX® BT                            
TYTRO® AE                          
DARACCEL®                            
DARASET®                            
POLARSET®                            
DARAVAIR®                          
DAREX®                          
AIRALON®                          
TERAPAVE®                          
FORCE 10000® D                            
HRMK® 100                            
POSTRITE®                            
STRUX®                            
DARAPEL®                        
DCI®                            
ECLIPSE®                            
RASIR®                        
SINTA®                          
ADVA®                        
DARACEM®                            
EXP                            
MIRA®                            
DARATARD®                              
ZYLA®                            
WRDA®                        

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