In 2018, the Construction Industry Value Chain report of the International Finance Corporation, which works under the World Bank, had said that more than 75% of the infrastructure needed in 2050 hasn’t even been constructed yet. This reflects a massive growth in the global construction industry in the coming years, which would propel the demand for all kinds of construction chemicals and materials. One of the most-important such materials is concrete, which forms the literal ‘building blocks’ of buildings and other pieces of infrastructure.
The three major types of polymer concrete are vinyl ester, epoxy, and polyester, of which epoxy variants are used the most widely. This is because epoxy-based polymer concrete has low shrinkage and it is quick to set. This becomes helpful when repairing structures that can’t be closed off for too long, such as airport runways. At large airports, hundreds of flights take-off and land each day, and for those with fewer-than-adequate runways, quick maintenance is necessary.
All these types of polymer concrete are utilized in residential and no-residential construction and civil infrastructure. Among these, civil infrastructure is the largest application of such materials, as governments around the world are taking efforts to sustain their growing population. The burgeoning number of people is creating the need for more roads, highways, water utilities including large tanks, drainage and sewer systems, and bridges. Moreover, over time, these structures witness normal wear and tear or that induced by earthquakes and other natural and manmade calamities.
As a result, infrastructure repair activities are picking up around the world. And since civil infrastructure is used by thousands of people directly or indirectly, it needs to be repaired and renovated as quickly as possible, which is why polymer concrete is being used for such purposes instead of conventional concrete, because of the quick setting properties of the former. Additionally, polymer concrete increases the life of the structures, thereby leading to the lower requirement for regular maintenance in future, which also helps save raw material, most importantly, water.
Presently, North America is the largest polymer concrete market because of the increasing infrastructure repair activities here. All pieces of civil, commercial, industrial, and residential infrastructure are strongly regulated and thoroughly inspected for safety and longevity. As a result, several infrastructure repair projects are underway in the region, along with those involving fresh construction. Moreover, several construction chemical companies operate in the region, which leads to an easy availability of advanced materials, including polymer concrete.
Hence, with the focus shifting to high-performance structures, the demand for polymer concrete will increase.