The question, Does plasticizer weaken concrete? relates to the use of polycarboxilates, a type of admixture. However, there are several concerns about these admixtures. Is too much plasticizer bad for concrete? How much is too much? This article will answer these questions and more.
Do plasticizers weaken concrete?
When a concrete mix contains plasticizers, the workability of the material increases. However, when the amount of water in the mix is too high, it makes the concrete brittle. Insufficient water can also result in a brittle concrete, and excessive water can make it hard to compact. While a small amount of plasticizers in the mix is not a problem, they are generally not recommended in normal floor slabs.
Plasticizers and superplasticizers are concrete admixtures used in concrete. They are compounds that modify the consistency of concrete without changing its water or cement content. Their effect on concrete strength has been studied by various researchers. The effect of superplasticizers depends on the type, dose, and binder used in the mix.
A small proportion of waste plastic is added to concrete mixes to increase workability. When waste plastic is 5% of the total mix, it decreases the concrete's strength by about 5%. However, a superplasticizer increases the concrete's workability by another 5%, resulting in an overall 5% increase in compressive strength.
Is too little plasticizer a problem?
Plasticizers are additives in concrete that can add strength to the mixture. They are sometimes used in conjunction with pozzolanic ash in concrete. Typically, 1% to 2% plasticizer is used in concrete. Excess amounts, however, can cause excessive segregation of the concrete or a retarding effect.
Plasticizers are one of the most widely studied chemical substances, and their safe use is enabled by the REACH regulation in Europe, which is the most comprehensive product safety regulation in the world. Nonetheless, there are still questions regarding how plasticizers may be affecting the human body.
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