M. A. Waheed, Technical Director, Perma Construction Aids Pvt, gives an overview aboutthe construction chemical industry in India as specialty products that increase a structure’s life and represent a niche segment in the Indian construction industry. Topics discussed include types of construction chemicals, advantages, Codes and Standards, the global scenario, industry structure, industry trends, economic factors driving change.
From the beginning of twentieth century cement concrete and cement mortar based on ordinary Portland cement, have been accepted as the main building materials for the construction of buildings and the infrastructure, considering the ease, speed and the strength they offer. But this new building material that is the ordinary Portland cement, suffered from some initial drawbacks such as shrinkage cracks and leakages when compared to the then existed lime concrete and lime mortar. So this product needed some modifications to get over its inherent weaknesses, which was achieved by the use of any chemicals. With the increase in demand for bigger, higher and stronger structures in various environmental conditions, the ordinary concrete required further modifications to perform as per the expectations and deliver the end strengths in various climatic and critical conditions. This was again achieved through the addition of chemicals to modify the behavior of cement concrete to give the desired end results. With time the performance demands on concrete increased and research and development of chemicals for modification of concrete became a regular industry which is now known as CONSTRUCTUION CHEMICALS INDUSTRY. To keep with the pace of developments, construction chemicals industry took upon itself to develop products which not only make construction of modern structures possible by imparting easy workability, better strength development characteristics and expected performance in extreme environmental conditions and also to maintain structures through various climates extending their life. Now a concrete admixture has become an essential fifth ingredient of concrete construction and completion of a new structure can’t be imagined without the use of construction chemicals at various stages of construction.
Starting from water proofing compounds, construction chemicals have expanded range to ease the workmanship in demanding situations at various stages of construction. Today each full-fledged construction chemicals manufacturer manufactures fifty to hundred various construction chemicals. These construction Chemicals can be generally divided into the following groups:
- Water Proofing Compounds
- Tile Fixing Adhesives and Joint Fillers
- Repair and Renovation Products
- Admixtures for concrete and mortars
- Coating and protection products
- Construction and workmanship aids
CODES AND STANDARDS
As Portland Cement was developed in Europe, so also the construction chemicals. Suitable codes and guidelines were also framed there to take the full advantage of these new developments in advancing the civil engineering industry. In India we adopted the use of Portland cement very fast and our government recognized the cement industry as the one essential in Nation building, and supported the industry by easing the norms in its classification in excise and its treatment in sales tax etc. in the beginning of the twentieth century itself. This industry grew rapidly. But after independence the construction practices and the building technology did not develop with the same speed, leaving our own civil engineering codes and practices far behind when compared with the developed nations. Because of this reason Construction chemicals were very slow to enter our market, and did not get the due recognition they deserved. Now generally construction chemicals are thought of when the structure is leaking or in distress or in situations when some extraordinary requirements are expected out of structural member such as very high strength bridge girder or superior industrial floor etc. For creating safe healthy structures for mankind we need to revise our age old meaningless building codes and civil engineering practices and over haul the civil engineering syllabus in the engineering colleges to incorporate the latest technology and available materials. We not only need to create new codes for civil engineering but also for construction chemicals so that wrong materials do not enter the construction arena putting the structures to risk.