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The Porcelain Enamel Institute, Inc. (PEI) recently announced the initiation of collaborative development efforts to prove the structural and mechanical improvements in steel-reinforced concrete structures by using reactive porcelain enamel coatings containing lithium on the reinforcing steel. Partners in this effort include SQM North America, which will provide financial support as part of its strategy of stimulating new uses for lithium; the University of Louisville’s department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and the PEI and several of its member companies.
Throughout the U.S., many states are reporting on the poor condition of their reinforced concrete infrastructure; thousands of bridges need repair, highways are crumbling, and parking decks are cracked and corroding. The service life of our nation’s infrastructure can be increased significantly with the use of reactive porcelain enamels on the reinforcing steel.
This new technology, licensed by the PEI from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, represents a new market opportunity for the porcelain enameling industry. Two key aspects to this technology will improve steel reinforced concrete structures. First, the porcelain enamel will protect the steel from corrosion within the concrete structure, thus eliminating a number of the resultant problems. Second, the reactive nature of the porcelain enamel will enhance the bond of the reinforcing steel to the concrete, thus producing better/stronger construction elements, infrastructure and buildings.
Initial work will involve the production of prototypes of porcelain enamel-coated reinforcing steel for testing at the University of Louisville’s Civil Engineering laboratories. The data from this testing will prove the structural benefits of the porcelain enamel coating and allow structural engineering calculation formulas to be developed for coated reinforcing steel elements. The corrosion protection provided by the reactive coating has already been proved in compliance with ASTM, and the technology has been used in construction projects by the U. S. Army.
The PEI is planning to market and commercialize this technology in many segments of the U.S. construction industry. Several types of steel reinforcement products are being considered and tested, including steel rebar, steel fiber, welded wire mesh, corrugated steel decking, structural anchors and wall ties.
Early cost estimates indicate that porcelain enamel coatings will be no more expensive than current corrosion protection coatings (and far less expensive than some proposed technical solutions). In addition, reactive porcelain enamel coatings will do more than just corrosion protection-they will make the concrete structures stronger.
For more information, references and testing results/data, as well as participation opportunities, call (770) 676-9366, fax (770) 676-9368, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.porcelainenamel.com.