Cellular concrete is a low-density, lightweight construction material that has many benefits over conventional concrete. It is environmentally friendly, fire resistant, sound-absorbing, thermally insulating and can help to save energy costs by keeping the building warm in winter and cool in summer. It is also termite-proof and freeze resistant. It can be poured in large slabs and formed into shapes to produce wall, partition walls, floors and roof structures. It is used in a wide variety of structural applications including residential, commercial and industrial buildings, parking garages, warehouses and stadiums.
There are several methods to achieve the porosity of cellular concrete: foaming technology, chemical aeration using air-incorporating agents or vacuum curing that creates pores due to internal strains in the mixture. The type of aeration method and the foaming agent chosen significantly affects the density and compressive strength of the resulting cellular concrete, as well as the average pore size distribution.
The cellular concrete foaming agent of the present invention consists of an alginate or a resin that is mixed into the slurry prior to addition of the slag cement and bituminous emulsion. The alginate or the resin strengthens the bubble walls by interconnecting them in a three-dimensional lattice and forms an impermeable barrier that prevents the foam from losing water during hydration of the slurry.
The foaming agent of the present invention allows the slurry to be made with a higher water-cement ratio and lower aggregate-to-water ratio, yet exhibit excellent workability and flowability. It can be used with fly-ash or natural gas as a source of slurry-making liquid and it produces permeable cellular concrete with wet cast densities of between 25 and 35 lb/cuft.
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