If you are a concrete construction professional, it is most likely that you have heard of the term “superplasticizer”. Superplasticizers are advanced water reducers which can improve the workability of concrete. They increase the fluidity of concrete without reducing its strength. Superplasticizers also increase the ability of fly ash, slag and silica fume to be incorporated into concrete.
They are hydrodynamic surfactants that create a shear force which causes the friction between cement particles to decrease. This allows the concrete to remain workable for 30-60 minutes. However, the workability will decline rapidly after this period. The type of super plasticizer, dosage, temperature, humidity and other admixtures will affect the amount of time that the concrete remains workable.
When used properly, superplasticizers can be very beneficial to your project. They can be used to produce flowing concrete in low slumps, allow for a lower water to cement ratio, or even save cement without affecting the quality of the concrete. However, it is important to know how and when to use them. Too much superplasticizer can lead to segregation, which is when different cement particles separate from each other.
When compared to traditional water reducers, superplasticizers are far more efficient and cost-effective. They can save up to 20% of the water in a concrete mix while still maintaining the same workability. They can also reduce the amount of water lost during mixing and transporting the concrete. In addition, they can help the concrete resist freezing and thawing.
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