Polymer concrete is a compound, which uses synthetic organic polymer as binder. Portland cement has been completely replaced by plastic resin concrete or synthetic resin concrete, which is then mixed with hardening agent, sand, gravel, filler, or quartz powder. The chemical present in this material exhibits various different properties such as high impact strength, high compressive strength, fast curing, high resistance to chemical attack, abrasion, and low permeability. The primary method of producing polymer concrete is by reduction of volume of voids in aggregates which would lower the quantity of polymer required for binding these aggregates. Binding is achieved by properly grading the aggregate in order to maintain less voids and maximum density. The properties of polymer concrete are highly dependent on the type, amount, and the properties of polymers in the concrete being used. The cost of polymer concrete is higher than that of cement.
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Polymer concrete materials can be broadly classified into Polymer Portland Cement Concrete (PPCC), Polymer Impregnated Concrete (PIC), and Sulfur-Impregnated Concrete. PPCC uses polymers and cement to form polymer cement concrete. It exhibits distinct properties than that of normal concrete such as durability to freezing, excellent ductility, and resistance to penetration by salt and water. It is used widely in mortars, flooring, patching compounds, etc. PIC uses the general procedure of impregnation of removing water by drying. It offers properties such as high strength, resistance to corrosion which is particularly used in structural elements and bridge decks. Sulfur impregnated concrete increases the strength by its interaction between sulfur and calcium hydroxide. This provides it with chemical resistance. Sulfur impregnated concrete is widely employed in industrial plants. Polymer binder can be thermoplastic or thermosetting polymer. Thermoplastics can be heated and formed repeatedly, while thermosetting can only be heated and shaped once. Polymer binders are frequently of thermosetting type.
Polymer concrete is used in various applications. It is extensively used in nuclear power plants, marine works, industrial tanks, water storage systems, sewage works, waterproofing structures, industrial plants, desalination plants, prefabricated structural elements, bridge drainage system, linear drainage system, electrolysis of non-ferrous metals, etc. Growth in transportation and increase in infrastructural activities are the major factors driving the demand for polymer concrete. Also due to its distinct superior characteristics, increase in the need of material with high toughness, strength, durability and ductability are one of the important factor for using environment friendly concrete. High cost of polymer concrete is a restraining factor for the polymer concrete market. Thus, polymer concrete can only be used in applications that require low energy consumption and less manpower.
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In terms of demand, Asia Pacific is leading the polymer concrete market across the globe. This trend is expected continue during the forecast period, led by growth in transportation and infrastructure industries in the region. The U.S. also accounts for significant share of the polymer concrete market in terms of demand due to the expansion of the construction industry in the country. The polymer concrete market in Europe and Middle East & Africa is expanding at a sluggish pace than that in other regions. Replacement of the existing concrete, increase in awareness about the usage of polymers, and development of new cheaper products are likely to offer immense opportunities for the polymer concrete market. Rest of the World market accounts for small share of the polymer concrete market; however, the region’s share is anticipated to increase during the forecast period.