Wacker is expanding its technical support for the construction industry with the opening of an additional laboratory in Moscow. The focus here is on water-repellent silicone additives for cement and concrete, which, when added to cementitious materials, provide improved protection against moisture, salts and unwanted chemical reactions. The development laboratory, which supports customers all over the world, is now officially open for business.
The Moscow laboratory is part of Wacker’s new Innovation Hub for Cement and Concrete. The facility aims to better protect cement and concrete materials from moisture, both while in storage and after application. Up to now, moisture protection has come in the form of water-repellent silicones applied to the surface after the concrete, mortar or plaster has set. Wacker has now developed silicone additives that can be incorporated into the cement or concrete during production, thereby protecting the construction materials from moisture damage more effectively.
The Moscow lab will be taking a leading role in developing these kinds of integral treatment additives for cement and concrete. "There are many factors that influence the properties of cementitious systems. Every manufacturer uses different raw materials and formulations,” explains Thomas Koini, who leads the Performance Silicones business unit. "Our new lab in Moscow will give us our first ever opportunity for systematically studying and testing a wide range of raw materials used in cement and concrete. That puts us in a position to optimise our building protection agents for use in our customers’ formulations and for compliance with international construction standards. Few raw materials manufacturers currently offer that kind of comprehensive service.”
A large number of test devices and laboratory instruments are available for the new service. The labs operated at the site by other expert teams can be drawn upon for studies as well. "The Moscow Technical Center has a long history,” says Alexander Serov, the Head of Wacker’s subsidiary Wacker Chemie RUS. "The first technical laboratory in Moscow opened its doors in 2003. Both Wacker Silicones and Wacker Polymers now operate multiple labs in Moscow for construction chemical products. The new facility can access this infrastructure as well, of course. That will allow us to conduct comprehensive testing on our customers’ formulations in compliance with all of today’s construction standards without having to make extra investments.”
The laboratory also hopes to collaborate with local universities and testing facilities. The first projects have already been commissioned. Studies conducted at the Lomonosov M.V. Moscow State University and previous investigations at the Gvozdev A.A. Research Institute of Concrete and Reinforced Concrete, for example, have shown that hydrophobic silicones significantly reduce moisture damage to concrete caused by salt penetration or by chemical processes such as the alkali-silica reaction.
"Prestigious building institutes and important players within the cement industry have their headquarters in Moscow. That’s a huge advantage for us in our work,” says Peter Jerschow, who heads up Wacker’s Innovation Hub for Cement and Concrete. As Jerschow goes on to say, expertise and regular exchanges with scientific institutes do more than just foster new product development. "They help us better understand fundamental aspects of construction chemistry too. And that, in turn, is a key factor in helping us develop innovative solutions for our customers’ growing quality standards.”
Click the following link for a video portrait of the Moscow cement and concrete laboratory: