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Structural bonding and sealing with reaction resin grouts

Ren P. Schmid
Rascor International Ltd - Systems Engineering for Waterproof Structures Official Swiss Delegate to Working Group CEN TC 104 SC 8 TG4 Injection Technology European Standards Committee Concrete Repairs

1 INTRODUCTION - POYURETHANES (PU/SPUR) The main function of remedial work injections is normally to reinstate existing damaged structures for operational use. A major consideration is the minimum disruption to the use of the facility during grouting operations. However the intelligent combination of injectable channels and crack inducers permits these techniques to be exploited to the full for preventive measures as well. Most products used today are freely available on the market. Development is user-independent and their application as wide, i.e. commercial, as possible. Maximum potential applications promote sales and economic success. Such products may well suffice in simple situations but can hardly cater for highly technical demanding ones. A closed circle of product development and manufacture, consultancy and application, i.e. a long -term association of all those involved, creates broader and clearer opportunities and clarifies the liability issue. Products and plant can be tailored to suit local conditions and particular requirements. This is a prerequisite for optimum technical and economic performance. 2 PRODUCT GROUPS At least theoretically, there is a wide range of product groups suitable for grouting, as the following list shows: - epoxy res ins - polyurethane's - polyesters - methyl methacrylates - acrylates - urea formaldehyde - silicic acids and silicic acid esters Few of these, however, can be properly implemented in "building conditions". The product groups commonly used for grouting today may, on the basis of their market position, be reduced to the following: - EPOXY RESINS (EP) - ACRYLIC RESINS (AC/AMD) Again here there are wide differences due to their very specific application fields. These are the generally acknowledged market shares: - epoxy resins approx. 3 % approx. 97 %

- polyurethane's and acrylic resins

A further breakdown of the second group is more problematic due to the absence of reliable statistics. 3 PRODUCT SELECTION ACCORDING TO FUNCTION AND PROPERTIES Crack injections are subject to a wide variety of requirements and this must be taken into account. The following groups may be defined: - structural bonding - stabilisation - elastic sealing - corrosion protection Several requirements may sometimes be met using a single product but this may largely depend on conditions during work execution. The following table provides an overview of the applications of the different product groups .
= not suitable X = suitable under certain conditions XX = suitable X X X = h i g h l y s u i t a b l e EP = Epoxy resin, PUR = Polyurethane, Polyester, MMA = Methyl Metacrylate, AMD = Acrylic Resin

Table 1 Comparison of area of application and product suitability The experienced designer should have no problem in selecting the appropriate product group for the application, since nowadays the requisite knowledge is available. More difficult is the selection of a particular product. Many good, even excellent

products are sold by people who themselves all too often lack the expertise. This means that those responsible have to be able to form their own judgement and appropriate product data become essential. Statements such as "structural bonding" or "for grouting against water ingress" are inadequate. The impending European standards, which are currently being prepared by an international working group, will clearly regulate approvals for products, systems and contractors. The following checklist illustrates some of the most important data items f o r m o s t p r o d u c t s a n d applications. The checklist has been conveniently divided into two stages: ie. the basic liquid components prior to injection and the final polymerised end product. "Liquid" Components - base material - density (viscosity) of indiv idual components and mix - pH value (individual components and mix) - solvent content (for injection products no solvents) - mixing ratio (two-pack or multi-pack products) - workable time (pot life, reaction time) depending on mass, building fabric and air temperature - working temperature (air and building fabric) - minimum reaction temperature - change in volume during polymerisation - toxicity (safety regulations) - hazard class - disposal "End" products - compressive strength/elasticity in compression at different temperatures (incl. below zero ) - tensile bond strength - change in volume due to temperature (below zero!) - physical behaviour after hardening - disposal The principle of the "right product in the right place" is seldom as important as it is for grouting applications. The wrong material or system can prevent a second repair and may even mean the demolition of the structure. Random data for various product groups collated from a number of test series clearly show significant differences not only between individual product groups but also within groups, i.e. from product to product. The following table intends to illustrate this without intending to be comprehensive.

EP = Epoxy Resin AMD = Acrylic Resin PU = Polyurethane Table 2 Product Properties of Various Resin Formulations 4 THE THREE PRODUCT GROUPS IN DETAIL A general principle for injections in cracks and porous building fabric, regardless of product group, is that low viscosity solvent-free resins should be used. Medium or even highly viscous resins are at most the exception, for special applications. 4.1 Epoxy resins (EP) Effective use of epoxy resins is restricted to structural bonding injections. For optimum force transmission the base (sides of crack) should be clean and dry. Dirt and moisture considerably reduce tensile bond strengths. One-pack system plant is generally used, i.e. resin and hardener are thoroughly mixed prior to introduction into the grouting plant. This prevents batching errors with the generally small grout quantities, under high pressures and with long grouting times. 4.2 Polyurethanes (PU/SPUR) Polyurethane resins have long been state-of-the-art products - so one might think. This is however only true in cases where it is a matter of "cementing" the p a s t . U n l i k e o t h e r s y s t e m s , P U-resins are manufactured and sold on the market for particular applications. This assists the "normal user" and cuts down on errors but at the same time narrows down opportunities. A basic distinction to be drawn is whether operations are carried out under water pressure - or - on a dry base since two completely different procedures are necessary. When working under water pressure it is common to pre-grout with a "one-pack resin" that reacts quickly with water, i.e. modified isocyanates are premixed with a catalyst. This produces a compound, which remains workable for a long time and only reacts in the presence of water (or humidity). The intense reaction induced by water produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and thus a variably strong foaming effect. The quick reaction makes such systems suitable for holding back water. The fine pore structure tends to lose volume (lost gas) with time and at high pressures there is the risk of cell walls caving in. This is not then a permanent solution. As a result, secondary grouting operation need to be carried out using slow reacting two-pack resins which themselves cannot be used under water pressure. The one-pack preseal allows the second

injection to react unhindered, producing a permanently waterproof mass. Of course the two pack injection can be used alone as a preventive measure with dry or only slightly damp cracks. These two-pack polyurethanes usually consist of polyol and isocyanates. Foaming is minimal and a closed-cell structure of individual bubbles is formed. The relatively high elasticity allows their use in cracks with limited movement. Here the crack width is very important, i.e. the wider the crack the larger the expandability. With cracks below 0.5 mm one can hardly speak of expandability. Latest developments with two-pack systems used directly under water pressure is promising due to their high viscosity; however, they are unsuitable for crack grouting. They are used in tunnel and gallery construction where large fissures and crevices can be successfully grouted. The reaction speed is similar to that of one-pack polyurethane but independent of water. In this case water merely induces a foaming effect that varies with the amount of water acting on the liquid grout. Further developments are being followed with interest. 4.3 Acrylic resin systems (AC/AMD) Low viscosity two-pack acrylic resins are injected directly into the heart of the damaged area, i.e. into the load -bearing fabric, from where they spread out through the finest pores and hairline cracks into the whole fabric and polymerise, producing an elastic neutral end product. This allows a full seal with minimum material and short working times. The packers may be removed for reuse already minutes after injection. All products are based on an aqueous two-pack system of modified acrylic resins with a viscosity and surface tension adapted to water (with the exception of formulations for expansion joints). Depending on the condition of the building fabric, the causes of existing damage and the required solutions, different base compositions or variable formulations have been implemented to achieve the required performance. The special characteristics of the material often bring solutions to seemingly insuperable problems. For example grouting against direct water counter-pressure (flowing water) is possible. The grouting pressure need only be greater than that of the ingressing water. The residual water in the grouting zone is integrated into the polymerisation process. Two-stage grouting as with polyurethane is not necessary. The elastic end product, resulting from polymerisation under appropriate pressure, grips the

fabric by virtue of its pre-tension to produce a perfect seal. This means that actual bonding with the fabric is unnecessary as long as there is no expansion of the joint or crack width greater than 15%. This explains why cracks, joints and porous fabric require no cleaning prior to grouting; ie. a perfect seal is possible even on oily, calcined or dusty contact surfaces. The end product is chemically neutral, totally insoluble and resists rotting and decomposition. Use in potable water containers is unproblematic. The properties and elasticity of the polymer remain unchanged within the temperature range -25 to +90 C, and there is no significant change in volume within this range, i.e. no hydraulic pressure through frost action. Striking differences compared to other product groups include: - mixing ratio A: B = 1:1 (weight or volume) - aqueous solution with surface tension adapted to water (self-mixing effect) Slow shrinkage during long dry periods, a characteristic often negatively associated with acrylic resins, is only true for standard trade products. For the systems described here, this has not been an issue for years. The properties of the products can be precisely tailored to particular applications, thus offering substantial advantages e.g. polyurethane. Table 9 in the appendix presents two different acrylate formulations and their behaviour under varying r e lative humidities (no water!) relative to a starting volume of 100 %. Acrylate I is a product generally used in damp or wet areas whilst showing good resilience when drying out. Acrylate III is a formulation for generally dry applications and can even be used around heating plant. 5. PRINCIPLE OF CRACK INJECTIONS 5.1. Preparation Grout can be injected in one direction from the face of the structure using adhesive nipples; alternatively it can be injected in two directions from the middle of the crack through an access drill hole made along side the crack using incorporated packers. A third method involving direct drilling of the crack is no longer used since grouting with incorporated packers is often impossible if the crack is not at right angles to the surface. In practice, adhesive nipples are generally used only in connection with structural bonding injections, whereas the drilling methods may be implemented with almost any system.

5.2.2 High-pressure injection For drilling injection holes in general building construction, bridge and other engineering works, standard electro -pneumatic drills, which can be fitted with drill rods of up to 180 cm in length and 12 to approx. 34 mm in diameter, have proved to be the best option. This rules out damage to the steel reinforcement in the fabric whilst ensuring optimum performance with accurate drillings. In tunnel, gallery and power station construction, for dams etc. drills on hydraulically or pneumatically driven slides are used. One feature shared by practically all systems is the coating over of the cracks to avoid unnecessary material loss, which allow pressure or vacuum buildup within the crack. Rapid -hardening cement mortars, two-pack reactive resins or reactive resin mortars and pastes are used. Cracks are rarely closed with mastic compounds due to their low-pressure resistance. Special systems provide thermal shock treatment for the discharged resin - without detriment to the building fabric - thus considerably reducing preparation times. 5.2. Injection methods Each of the following methods can claim to be the right one - but not in all situations. Selection is based on particular requirement profiles described in more detail in Section 3. Generally, the borderline between high and low-pressure injections is not clearly defined in terms of bar. Definitions are an individual matter. From the point of view of both employer and contractor, however, the preferred equipment should allow controlled continuous setting between the lowest pressures (less than 1 bar) and high pressures up to 300 bar. This is the only means, under variable conditions, of avoiding interruptions that might compromise success. Extra high-pressure injections between 300 and 1000 bar are only used in special cases. 5.2.1 Low-pressure injection equipment Low-pressure injection equipment is usually cheap and simple i.e. equipment for less demanding work, operating at low pressures and thus requiring more time. Pressure chambers, gear, diaphragm and screw pumps are used, mainly in combination with onepack systems, and requiring long pot lives for reactive resins. On average pressure ranges lie between 0 and 10 bar with some as high as 30 bar. This should be regarded as ancillary plant for nonprofessionals for use on minor works. Significant losses due to remaining grout that cannot be used constitute a major drawback. This is also true for work interruptions. High-pressure injection equipment is usually based on piston pumps with a wide variety of drive systems. From the point of view of user-friendliness - and this is also an advantage for the employer hydraulically and particularly pneumatically driven systems with a pressure transformer are preferable, since they can be controlled, i.e. switched on and off, directly via the conveyed material without ancillary installations. At the same time they allow continuous pressure to be maintained on a grouting zone with continued automatic feeding, which with purely mechanical machines is only possible by jerking on and off with a pressure wave s witch often undesirable. Pressure and quantity control with the latter is also inadequate or very complicated. Pressure relief valves for the conveyed material are only acceptable with single-pack system equipment. High-pressure injection equipment is normally used in combination with two-pack or multi-pack systems using displacement or double acting pistons. The upper pressure limit should not lie below 250 bar and should allow controlled continuous setting between zero bar and maximum pressure. This is the only guarantee of fully adjusting the grout to local conditions. This category also includes lever type handguns, similar to grease guns, which can be used as singlepack system equipment for minor or incidental works. Feeling regulates pressure, which is not unproblematic with inexperienced operatives, since these machines generate considerable pressures. 5.2.3 Extra high-pressure injection equipment Extra high -pressure injection equipment is used very rarely, and only for special applications where such pressures (up to 1000 bar) are needed for grouting very small quantities. Single-pack system equipment is generally used here: without expensive and sensitive equipment, precise batching and mixing of the components cannot be guaranteed. 5.2.4 Vacuum injection equipment Vacuum injection equipment is practically never found on building sites, even though it has been implemented with some success. The main reason is probably the considerable effort and difficulty involved in creating a vacuum in a stru cture under site conditions. At the same time there is no guarantee of better crack penetration. 5.2.5 Vacuum-pressure injection equipment

Vacuum-pressure injection equipment basically suffers from the same drawbacks as vacuum injection equipment but do es achieve very good results. The process involves initial working with a vacuum, followed by an immediate (i.e. without the entry of air) switch to pressure. It may be used for structural bonding injections, where requirements justify the cost. 6 CRACK APPRAISAL Cracks are a natural feature of concrete construction and not all cracks should be regarded as failures. The first priority then is to establish the cause and possible effects on functionality and life span of the structure. To consider particular repairs at this stage is the layman's prerogative. Yet the specialist also cannot afford simply to ignore cracks. 6.1 Determination of actual state and cause Crack patterns provide clues to the tensions and movement in a structure and are thus of help in identifying causes. The following crack types may be distinguished: - single cracks, parallel cracks, inter-linked cracks - widely and closely spaced cracks, long and short cracks - cracks in surfaces, in surface sections, in bay centres, at ends, edges and corners, internal cracks - surface cracks, deep, continuous - uniform, tapering or overlapping cracks An appraisal of cracks is a prerequisite for successful repair. Establishing causes and working out the implications is a process that should not b e taken for granted. Is it not important to know whether subsoil or structural factors, faulty workmanship or mix designs are the cause, whether further movement is to be expected at a later date and, if so, in what magnitude? It may be that the causes must be dealt with before starting repairs, since there is little point in producing structural bonds if there are basic structural defects. New cracks would be the result. 6.2 The definition of the required state The definition of the required state, as a basis for judging what is feasible, is extremely important. Only after examining cause, actual and required states can potential products and the necessary working methods be identified. The basic criteria, i.e. structural bond, seal, stabilisation and corrosion protection etc., as dealt with in 2.2, may be applied here. It is often found that what is feasible is also influenced by other factors.

6.3 External influences External influences during operations and the local conditions under which they are carried out, e.g. temperature, dry or wet building fabric, accessibility, may impose severe restrictions on decision-making. 6.4 The economic viability The economic viability of the remaining potential systems is generally the final deciding factor. Anyone who has had to make such decisions knows that the desired options often have to yield to those that are both feasible and economically viable. It should however be mentioned that cheap hourly rates and low material prices often result in severe disappointment. The effective price is much rather dictated by the correct material and workmanship, and thus the correct equipment and installation, than by low prices that are usually a sign of inexperience. 6.5 The use of crack inducers The use of crack inducers and channels such as RASCOtec enables the engineer to form controlled cracking and optimise the crack development. These can then be injected successfully with the appropriate resin to provide long term watertight structures. 7 RISKS AND FINAL THOUGHTS The above presentation has outlined areas of great potential. What has been said is more or less applicable to all types of structure. It should, however, be clearly stated that such results can only be produced where a prior in-depth failure analysis is undertaken, where the appropriate formulations and equipment are used and where the operative is well trained and has the necessary experience. If carefully planned and executed by established and experienced contractors, the good grouting technology available today bears no exceptional risks. It must be emphasised however that, especially for structural bonding applications, the selection of the wrong material or faulty execution can rule out the possibility of further repairs, which might mean the end o f the structure. Grouting work is not an alternative employment to reduce over-capacities that exist elsewhere

8 APPENDICES Table: 1. Comparison of Area of Application and Product Suitability (above) 2. P r o d u c t P r o p e r t i e s o f V a r i o u s R e s i n Formulations (above) 3. P r o p e r t i e s o f 9 d i f f e r e n t E p o x y R e s i n Formulations 4. Bonding and Tearing Strength relative to Degree of Hardening of Various Epoxy Products 5. Shear Strength 6. Plasticity Temperatures from Temperature Deformation Curves 7. Properties of Polyurethane Resins 8. Comparison of Properties of 3 Acrylate Formulations Prior to & After Polymerisation 9. Shrinkage and Expansion Characteristics of 2 different Acrylate Formulations Grouting work is not an alternative employment to reduce over-capacities that exist elsewhere. Table 3 Properties of 9 different Epoxy Resin Formulations Table 4 Bonding and Tearing Strength relative to Degree of Hardening of Various Epoxy Products + 8C and + 23C
1) 2) 3)

9 REFERENCES Cementbulletin 4 / 8 2 ( S c h w e i z . Zementverein) Verpressharz-Versuchsreihe des jbac Institut fr Bauforschung der Techn. Hochschule, Aachen Ren P. Schmid. Elastische Kunstharzinjektionen als Prventiv -oder Sanierungsmassnahme B+B 2/84) Cornely, 1988 a Martin Smith. Waterproofing Structures: Lessons from the Past, Systems for the Future.

Cohesion Rupture Tested after 3 days x Average Value, s Standard deviation

Table 5 Shear Strength


x Average Value, s Standard deviation

Table 6 Plasticity Temperatures from Temperature Deformation Curves


Individual Values x 1, x 2, x 3, Average Value x

Table 7 Properties of Polyurethane Resins Table 8 Comparison of Properties of 3 Acrylate Formulations Prior to & After Polymerisation Table 9 Shrinkage and Expansion Characteristics of 2 different Acrylate Formulations

Volume Shrinkage & Expansion of Acrylates I and III vs Time in Days

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