The founder of a startup based on a Purdue University innovation says the company could help managers of state transportation departments and other large-scale consumers of concrete extend the lifetime of their concrete investments.
Paul Imbrock, founder and president of Environmental Concrete Products LLC, said the company's Fluid iSoylator product can be used to protect new and existing concrete. He said hardened concrete sustains damage when fluids on the surface are absorbed into its network of pores, similar to those in a sponge.
"When the fluid, which could be water that contains salts or other ions, saturates the pore network, it will expand inside the concrete and initiate damage upon freezing," he said. "If the fluids evaporate instead, the ions remain and crystallize in the pores, which also creates damage. New fractures caused by either method of damage allow for even more ingress of fluids, which repeats the cycle and creates further damage that will destroy the concrete over time."
Purdue researchers have developed a hydrophobic sealant that could prevent potentially damaging fluids from entering concrete pores.