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BASF crystals make concrete harden faster

May 16/2011

(BASF) -- X-SEED crystals from BASF make concrete harden faster and reduce carbon emissions. This hardening accelerator not only allows precast concrete units to be produced more rapidly and in better quality, it also considerably reduces energy consumption and the associated emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).


"X-Seed makes heat curing with all its disadvantages largely superfluous," explains Dr. Michael Kompatscher, responsible for BASF's European precast concrete component market. "With this additive, concrete hardens just as fast at 20 degrees Celsius as it otherwise does at 60 degrees Celsius. And by a brilliantly simple method Ц because all it involves is adding something that's already present in the concrete anyway: calcium silicate hydrate." More precisely, it's the countless millions of tiny CSH crystals with a diameter of several nanometers suspended in liquid in X-Seed. Because of their nanosize, more very homogeneously distributed crystallization seeds can be accommodated in the same mass and thereby promote faster growth. When the concrete hardens, further molecules from the cement can attach themselves to these CSH seeds. The resulting crystals grow more densely and finally interlock to form the compact cement stone.


Besides the large market for precast concrete components, in which manufacturers can now produce more efficiently and rapidly and handle peak workloads more flexibly, this innovative accelerator also offers advantages for a number of other applications. The product shortens the construction times of roads, tunnels and airstrips Ц also in winter outdoor  temperatures. The nanoproduct X-Seed not only saves costs, it also has an extremely positive influence on the energy and climate balance and hence the sustainability of the material concrete (see Infobox).


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