Standards Compliance and Value-Based Product Development
Steven Parker, CHRYSO, on the role of ASTM standards in R&D and product development for cement additives and concrete admixtures.
In the world of construction materials, ASTM International standards are as much a part of doing business as chemical admixtures are a part of concrete. It takes a combination of sound scientific protocol and industry-leading chemical technologies to develop and implement chemical admixtures and cement additives for the construction industry.
Whether concrete or hydraulic cement, ASTM standard specifications and test methods are always at the forefront of the process, from the evaluation of raw materials to the qualification of finished goods. CHRYSO is a leading global manufacturer of chemical admixtures for the concrete industry and cement additives for the cement industry. In both product lines there is a growing industry demand for chemical admixture and cement additive products that respond to customer-defined needs for end-product performance.
It is this value-based approach that CHRYSO uses in new product development and market implementation. ASTM standards set the framework within which this can be achieved.
The standard specification of greatest consequence for chemical admixtures is C494, Specification for Chemical Admixtures for Concrete. Value-oriented and problem-solving formulations must be developed within the C494 specification limits. Whether the product fills a need for extended workability or perhaps an accelerated strength profile, it must comply with C494.
With the level playing field determined by C494, our priority becomes innovation and industry-leading chemical technology. The development of the CHRYSO EnviroMix® product line was achieved within this context; it allows concrete producers to use larger amounts of supplemental cementitious materials than previously possible without sacrificing other concrete performance parameters for strength profile, setting time, entrained air stability and workability. This process of enabled innovation has resulted in the introduction of the EnviroMix® product line in several European countries in addition to its already abundant use in the United States.
Another example of innovation and value-based product development in the ASTM specification framework has been the CHRYSO Optima® product line of high range water reducers. Through the use of innovative and proprietary chemical technology, this product line offers concrete producers and their customers significantly extended workability retention while maintaining normal setting characteristics, improved concrete rheology, greater robustness for a variety of aggregate materials and enhanced water reduction capability. All within the specification limits of ASTM C494.
For the cement industry, ASTM Committee C01 maintains ASTM C465, Specification for Processing Additions for Use in the Manufacture of Hydraulic Cements. This standard defines specification limits and test methods to be used for determining whether a processing addition meets the requirements contained in the four different hydraulic cement specifications: C150, C595, C845 and C1157.1 Processing additions, more commonly known as cement additives, have historically served to facilitate grinding in a cement mill regardless of mill type or configuration. As with C494 for chemical admixtures for concrete, C465 establishes compliance for cement additives. And again, like chemical admixtures, the playing field has been leveled and the door is open to differentiation through innovation and solutions that address customer-defined needs while complying with C465. The CHRYSO HS and ELS series of cement additive products have brought answers to industry calls for enhanced cement strength profile, higher production throughput and reduced manufacturing cost.
Similarly, the CHRYSO AMA 28 product family has enabled cement producers to manufacture Type IL limestone cement per ASTM C595. This product range allows cement producers to reduce clinker by up to 15 percent in a finished ton of limestone cement, producing a cement with a significantly lower carbon dioxide footprint (enhancing environmental stewardship) and reduced cost while still maintaining the desired cement performance characteristics.
Participation in ASTM standards development and compliance with standards provides opportunities, and companies can differentiate themselves in the marketplace through innovation and responsiveness to market needs. Having the proverbial “dog in the fight” relative to standards development and maintenance provides additional insight to market trends and emerging technologies that must be considered in any successful business plan.