The global construction industry is facing a challenge of sustainability due to the rapid development of infrastructure and its maintenance. This requires the development of high performance construction materials. Rapid strength concrete is one of the major high performing construction materials that is used increasingly in construction activities across the globe. Rapid strength concrete when mixed with minimal amount of water, develops high resistance and compressive strength within few hours of its application. Rapid strength concrete mixtures are manufactured by carefully selecting high quality ingredients and mixture designs.
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After designing the mixture, it is batched, mixed, placed, compacted and cured to the highest industry standards depending upon the type of application. This special feature has many advantages such as removal of formwork at an early building process in reduced time, and repair of road surfaces that become fully operational in a few hours of construction.
Rapid strength concrete is a viable solution for rehabilitation and preservation of aging infrastructure in lower time. Factors such as decrease in volume of consumption of natural resources, reduction in servicing duration of structures and pavements, and reduction in global carbon dioxide footprint are driving the global rapid strength concrete market. Any concrete requires certain properties to be classified as rapid strength concrete.
These includes workability which is required for the design consistency & segregation resistance; rate of early strength gain which is required for opening transportation structures & servicing of pavements in minimum possible time frame; and development of tensile strength & resistance towards cracking within few hours of application. Rapid strength concrete should gain the compressive strength of 20 to 28 MPa in between two to three hours of application. Rapid strength concrete has been successfully used for maintenance, repair, and extension of service life of bridges, tunnels, airfields, highways, and city streets.
Rapid strength concrete requires special chemicals and additives to make it desirable for special construction and maintenance works. Special chemicals and additives include portland cement, blended cement, fly ash, silica fumes, calcined clays, super plasticizers, water reducers, hydration control admixtures, retarders, corrosion inhibitors, shrinkage reducers, polymer modifiers, and accelerators. Increase in infrastructure development activities across the globe provides vast potential for the rapid strength concrete market.
The rapid strength concrete market is driven by factors such as increase in multi-story and high rise construction activities, time saving advantages and ease-of-placing of rapid strength concrete, rise in global consumer base, and government regulations and policies on the usage of environment friendly concrete materials.
In terms of construction application, the rapid strength concrete market can be segmented into modern airports, industrial & commercial buildings or floors, dockyards, parking areas, formed work, rail networks, roads & bridges, and others. In terms of consumption the roads & bridges construction segment account for the major share of the global rapid strength concrete market. High prices of rapid strength concrete and lack of demand and awareness in emerging economies are the key restraints of the rapid strength concrete market.
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Currently Europe lead the global rapid strength concrete market in terms of consumption. It is followed by the U.S. and China. Rising trends of using rapid strength concrete in place of traditional concrete, increasing usage in Asia-Pacific, and development of inexpensive novel products are expected to provide immense growth opportunities to the global players in the rapid strength concrete market.
Prominent global players that produce rapid strength concrete are BASF, CTS Cements, Buzzi Unicem, Instarmac, Aggregate Industries UK Ltd., and Perimeter Concrete Ltd. Holcim Ltd., and CRH-Aboitiz Company are the major players operating in Asia. Increase in investments for improvement of infrastructure, led by the rise in per capita GDP of countries in South East Asia, is anticipated to boost the demand for rapid strength concrete in the near future.