Hard-Cem®: It’s Not Just for Warehouse Floors
If you’ve ever browsed our list of case studies, you might get the impression that Hard-Cem is mainly good for protecting floors, especially warehouse floors. After all, it has the ability to increase the hardness of concrete paste and reduce fine and coarse aggregate exposure. All of which makes it great for protecting floors from erosive and abrasive forces.
But that’s only one way to use Hard-Cem! For those of you interested in having more durable concrete for other purposes, this integral hardening admixture still has you covered. Want to see what we mean? Then, join us as we delve into the versatility of Hard-Cem.
For One, Hard-Cem Can Help Create Skate Parks Worthy of Awards
A skate park isn’t the first thing to come to mind when you think of Hard-Cem. But it benefits just as greatly from the admixture as any warehouse floor.
A good example of this is Metro Skate Park, which the City of Burnaby had constructed back in 2004. Like any skate park, it needed a lot of concrete. And that concrete needed to endure years of skateboards gliding back and forth across its surface. Without Hard-Cem added to the concrete mix, this park wouldn’t have lasted long without the need for repairs. However, with it, the park has lasted for over 10 years now, winning a number of awards for its concrete mix and design.
But what makes this admixture so special for such a project? After all, there are other products out there that help with concrete durability, right?
Well, as an admixture, Hard-Cem eliminates the need for surface applications, such as dry shake products. So construction workers no longer have to worry about environmental and workplace health concerns surrounding the presence of toxic silica dust.
And adding it to concrete mix gives designers and concrete applicators maximum versatility. From there, they can form concrete slabs for any desired type of surface (horizontal, vertical, or inclined). This in turn gives them the flexibility to create the multiple varied features of a skate park. Whether the park needs full pipes, bowl-shaped areas, or more, Hard-Cem can help make them all long-lasting. In fact, the City of Burnaby was happy to even credit the admixture for helping create a more durable, harder concrete surface for its new skate park.
It Can Even Protect Large Hydro Dam Structures from Erosion
Of course, Hard-Cem is also capable of increasing the service life of more major infrastructure projects.
Take the structures surrounding hydro dams, for instance. They need to be able to withstand fast-flowing waters to help a dam generate the electricity needed to power communities. While contractors have a number of solutions they can use against this, they’re all generally time-consuming. And if they also use surface-applied products or work with inclined or vertical structures, they can end up spending more time on their chosen solution while adding complexity to the construction. To avoid these issues, however, they can just add Hard-Cem to the concrete mix of those structures before placing them during construction. That way, there’s no need to worry about the other solutions or any future repairs. The structures will simply have the resistance needed to avoid eroding away in the water.
A number of companies have recognized the value of this and have taken advantage of it for their own hydro dam projects.
Well-Known for This, Hard-Cem Was Used in the White River Hydro Project
In one case, around 2005, the engineering company MWH Engineering had already experienced the benefits of using Hard-Cem in a previous project. So they knew firsthand that it was the best solution for the White River hydro dam. And the owners of the project were happy to go with the decision. After all, they wanted to minimize any wear their concrete hydro structures might experience when dealing with running water and debris. This would help them save money as they would be able to reduce any maintenance and repair needed due to erosion.
With that in mind, they used around 6,000 m³ of Hard-Cem concrete during construction. The end results left the owners with a dam that is still reliably generating power to this day.
Its Reputation Eventually Led It to Being Used in BC Hydro’s Largest Dam
Years later, after Hard-Cem successes like the one at the White River hydro dam, BC Hydro chose to work with the admixture too. Hard-Cem was a proven reliable way to harden concrete. And BC Hydro needed a reliable product if they were going to develop their largest hydro dam yet for the Site C Clean Energy Project.
By 2024, the company hoped to have this project completed and capable of powering about 450,000 homes in British Columbia (BC), Canada. And with Hard-Cem, they could avoid the time-consuming and labor-intensive methods needed to get there with the right structural durability while maximizing the service life of their structure.
Less Known Is Its Ability to Develop Durable Concrete Tanks
As impressive as that is, you might still wonder what other projects Hard-Cem can tackle. The easiest answer would be to say that there all sorts of other projects this admixture can improve. But we want to give you one last interesting example. And it focuses on enhancing the durability of wastewater treatment tanks.
More specifically, these tanks belonged to the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond, BC. The owners there wanted to upgrade them as the tanks had been working to remove wood, stones, plastics, and other large debris from wastewater since 1963. And after some time, this process had started to erode away the tanks. The owners needed to keep those tanks going as they were what helped the wastewater treatment plant handle about 9,500 bulk tons of biosolids each year. To ensure the plant could treat these biosolids and discharge sanitized water back into the Strait of Georgia, the owners needed a permanent solution to this erosion.
Luckily, Hard-Cem has a lot of versatility. So we were able to use it in shotcrete to place it in the primary treatment screening tanks. This provided the tank bottoms and walls with concrete that could easily resist erosion, keeping the wastewater treatment plant running properly.
In Short, It’s Great for a Wide Variety of Projects, Including Yours
As you can see, Hard-Cem isn’t just a solution for hard, durable facility floors. It holds promise for so many other types of projects out there. And it can do the same for any concrete projects of yours that need that extra bit of durability.