Cement is the most common binding material used in construction activities. Cement is mixed with crushed rocks, sand and water in specific proportion to create concrete. Admixtures are chemicals that are added to concrete at the initial mixing stage to enhances or modify the working properties of the mix. Concrete admixtures are primarily used to enhance the compressive strength, workability and durability parameter of the concrete and to reduce the water content in it. Admixtures are generally classified according to application as Plasticizers (water reducing agents), super plasticizers (high range water reducers), air entrainers, accelerators and retarders. Also, three types of admixtures very common in the market such as Lingo-based, Sulfonated Naphthalene Formaldehyde (SNF) and Sulfonated Melamine Formaldehyde (SMF) based and PCE (Polycarboxylate Ether) based admixtures. Optimum use of admixtures depends on several factors including the type and amount of cement used, working temperature of concrete and air and water content.
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For developers, engineers, contractors, builders, architects and other end-users, concrete admixtures offer innumerable benefits such as corrosion resistance, reduced permeability and improved resistance to chemical attack, effective placement of concrete in extreme weather conditions and underwater placement of concrete.
The demand for concrete admixtures is directly related to cement consumption trends. Some of the drivers of the concrete admixtures market are improving quality of construction in developing economies, increasing demand for high rise buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels and dams. Reduction in water usage and construction time is the major concerns of contractors and manufacturers, which could be rightly addressed by making effective use of concrete admixtures. Some of the inhibitors in the concrete admixtures market are increasing prices of raw materials, unskilled labour and lack of awareness about admixtures in the unorganized sector of construction developers.
Growing residential requirements in the Middle East and Africa, and the urbanization trend in the Asia-Pacific region indicates high market opportunities for concrete admixture manufacturers. Repair and maintenance applications also provide potential opportunities, supported by increase in renovation and repair activities. Gradual aging of the housing stock in regions like Europe and North America offers major opportunities for concrete admixtures market.
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In developing countries of Asia Pacific, improving quality of civil structures is offering a double-digit growth rate for concrete admixture consumption. The Asia Pacific region is the largest consumer of concrete admixtures, and is expected to hold market share of over two-thirds of the total global admixtures market. Various factors such as foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing markets such as India and China is providing new market opportunities in the concrete admixtures market. Recent developments in concrete admixture technology have led to the development of mid-range water reducers. Another trend which has been increasingly adopted by major players in the market is the use of new concrete mixtures that contain up to 85% recycled material. Another innovative concrete admixture product includes an additive called Elemix, which consists of expanded polystyrene beads. This product allows making of a lighter weight concrete with the same structural strength, while enhancing its thermal properties, retarding properties and cracking resistance.
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