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Soy-Based Concrete Protection Product Is Sustainable and Practical

PoreShield Workers apply PoreShield to a bridge in Wabash County, Indiana.
PoreShield, a soy-based concrete protection product, boasts the ability to significantly increase the lifespan of concrete structures and factors heavily into ongoing industry sustainability efforts. Here's how it works.

As infrastructure improvements get increased focus around the nation, a product that can extend the lifespan of some concrete structures from five to nine times is getting a new look.

PoreShield, a concrete protection product, is applied to the surface of the concrete. From there, the product will fill pores in concrete with a viscous material that has a lower surface tension than water.

Paul Imbrock, president of Environmental Concrete Products, was instrumental in the development of PoreShield as a graduate student at Perdue University.  

He confirmed that industry interest in PoreShield has risen due to increased interest in sustainable options.  

“I certainly have noticed over the last few years in particular the industry, as a whole, is making a shift,” Imbrock said.  

How PoreShield Works

PoreShield leaves no film on the surface and makes its way into the pores ahead of water, according to the company’s website. PoreShield is also marketed as a sustainable product that is comprised of 93% bio-content. The product is made mostly using soybeans.

No mixing of the product is required before application and PPE is not required while applying it.

“PoreShield is non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about overspray on water or land,” the company’s website stated.

 

PoreShield Technical Specs

  • Meets national EPA standards
  • Environmentally safe: land, air and water
  • Safe for workers: does not require PPE
  • Renewable, bio-based and biodegradable
  • USDA BioPreferred and federal purchasing certified

Imbrock said the soy bio-content that makes up PoreShield is a naturally hydrophobic material that repels water and salt.  

It also has a surface tension that is much lower than water, allowing the material to act as a plug to pores in concrete surfaces. 

Increased Lifespan for Concrete Structures

Independent studies have concluded that PoreShield reduces chloride ion diffusion by twice as much as other leading products. Chloride ion diffusion is a process that causes concrete degradation as materials infiltrate a concrete surface.

An independent research program by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation concluded that PoreShield can help prevent water absorption and extend the life of the concrete by as much as nine times its original lifespan.

Case studies, like the U.S. Highway 231 case study, have demonstrated that PoreShield can offer more than a decade of concrete protection.

Imbrock said increasing the lifespan of concrete structures has beneficial impacts by helping to reduce the burden for taxpayers. The product also factors into global sustainability efforts and helps global efforts to chop CO2 emissions.  

“Making the concrete we have already last longer goes a long way to not needing that additional cement,” he said.  

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