Concrete polymer composites Essay

Concrete Polymer Composites

For over four decades now, various studies concerning concrete polymer composites have been conducted in almost all countries across the globe - Concrete polymer composites Essay introduction. Notably, intensive research on the same is underway in countries like the Russia, U.K, Japan as well as Germany. This is mainly due to the fact that, the concrete-polymer composites have drawn much attention in the construction, mechanical and the electrical industry. In this respect, players in different industries have been quoted saying that, concrete polymer composites have proved to have high performance in terms of durability and tensile strength compared to natural concrete. This report will seek to substantiate the concrete polymer composites in terms of their structure/composition, and properties. In addition, the report will highlight some of the application areas where the concrete polymer composites are most preferred.

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First, it is important to understand that concrete polymer composites are made when a portion of the cement hydrate binder of conventional mortar is replaced with some polymers. Similarly, they are also made when the cement hydrate binder is reinforced using some polymers (Cowan, 2007). Concrete polymer composites are broadly classified into three categories which are different in the kind of process which are applicable to them. They include polymer modified mortar/concrete, polymer mortar (PM) and concrete (PC) and the polymer impregnated mortar (PIM) and concrete (PIC). We shall now look at the properties of each of the polymer.

            Polymer modified mortar and concrete is made when cement hydrate binders of conventional mortar are substituted with some polymeric modifiers or better commonly referred to as admixtures. Liquid resins, re-dispersible polymer powders and water soluble polymers are the commonly used admixtures.

Polymer mortar and concrete is made when cement hydrate binders of conventional mortar and concrete are completely substituted with some liquid resins. On numerous occasions, thermosetting resins and the tar modified resins are used as substitutes to the cement hydrate binders.

Polymer Impregnated mortar and concrete is made when the usual cement or mortar is substituted completely or partially with some polymers (Fukuawa & Ohama, 1997). The impregnation process can briefly be described as when the water or the air pores in concrete or mortar are fully filed with polymers at the cement hydrate matrix phase.


At this point, I find it relevant to briefly describe the process of polymer impregnation. In polymer impregnation, the initial step involves the drying of the old and new mortar layers. Thereafter, some monomeric constituents are implanted in the dikes which had previously been installed on the dried mortar and concrete surfaces. Finally, they are polymerized by utilizing a method which goes by the name of thermal polymerization (Curlee, 2000). The end result is that there is production of a polymer impregnated mortar as well as concrete.

The next part of the essay will now focus on the properties of the concrete polymer composites. We shall pay specific attention to such properties as adhesion, corrosion, resistance, permeability and mechanical properties among others.


Research has shown that polymer modified concrete or mortar increases in tensile strength and flexure strength especially when it is cured in air than in water. Moreover, the strength of the polymer varies proportionately with the amount of polymer added to it. With respect to the adhesion properties of the polymer cement concrete, it is evident that its tensile and flexural strength increases with the amount of polymer that is added to the polymer modified concrete or mortar. Also, there is evidence that most of the concrete polymer composites which are used for structural applications are product of polyether binder, quartz sand or even the granite chips. For instance, it is applicable in ornamental composites where the composites are used to coat decorative plates (Irgens, 1999). In regard to this, a representation of some of the past works is provided below

Concrete polymer composites. Source (

 The tensile and flexural strengths are often influenced by factors such as the curing and testing methods, nature of materials as well as such factors as the mix proportions. The bonding strength of the polymer modified concrete decreased remarkably whenever Styrene acrylate and Styrene butadiene were used to modify the polymer. The key users of the composites can bear me witness that diffusion resistance is of much significance due to the fact that it improves on salt corrosion of steel. In line with this, research has shown that the permeability resistance of polymer modified concrete increases in proportion to the amount of Styrene Butadiene that is added to the polymer. It is also worth noting that the polymer modified concrete mortar is normally workable due to the fact that the polymer particles and the entrained air have a ball bearing action. This brings us to the last property of the concrete polymer composites which is air entrainment. Air entrainment is a common property with the polymer modified concrete which is mainly a factor of surfactants which are present in emulsifiers and stabilizers (Ohama, 1994). The last part of the essay will now focus on the different areas where concrete polymer composites are used.

Application areas

Concrete polymer composites are commonly used in the construction industry due to the aspect of flexibility when working with them. They also exhibit a higher level of durability. For instance, they are commonly used in China for numerous repair works due to their anticorrosion property. In line with this, the composites are further used to protect water gates from corrosion as applied in Hebei Xinhe Gaoshou. In addition, they are used in power plants to protect floors since they have a lower rate of wearing out. Similarly, the concrete polymer composites are used in the treatment of cracks as well as joints on concrete surfaces (Gaggino, 2003). Lastly, the composites are used when construction workers wish to bond old and new concrete.

At this point it is worth concluding with an opinion that more and more exploration studies need to be conducted on the concrete polymer composites. This is due to the fact that, even the players in the construction and electrical industry are underutilizing the capacity of the concrete polymer composites. There is need to realize that, the concrete polymer composites have anticorrosion properties and greater tensile strength as compared to the ordinary concrete. Hence, there is need for use of the concrete polymer composites and much benefit will be forthcoming.


Cowan, H. (2007). The Architectural Characteristics of Concrete. Architectural Science Review. Vol. 50, p. 27-29

Curlee, R. (2000). The Economic Feasibility of Recycling: A Case Study of Plastic Wastes Use in Construction. London: Praeger

Fukuawa, K. & Ohama Y. (1997). Polymers in concrete. London: E & FN Spon

Gaggino, S. (2003). New building Elements made out of Recycled Materials for Economic Housing. Architectural Science Review, Vol. 46, p. 22-28

Irgens, L. (1999). Functionally Highly Filled and Reinforced Polymer Materials: Polymer-Concrete composites.

Retrieved from:  <>

Ohama Y. & Chandra S. (1994).Polymers in concrete. Florida: CRC Press.

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