Building mega structures with polymer blocks
Waste Management Expo 2020 MAR 12&13 BIEC, Bengaluru, India

Building mega structures with polymer blocks

10:19 AM, 10th February 2017
Anand Gopaladesikan, Managing Director, Wacker India.
Anand Gopaladesikan, Managing Director, Wacker India.

In an interview, Anand Gopaladesikan, Managing Director, Wacker India with Chemical Today magazine points out that organic binders are the new age material to suit the demands of modern constructions and give finesse, quality and durability to the mega structures of tomorrow. 

By Debarati Das

Global trends and future developments in the organic binders sectors.

WACKER’s organic dispersions and dispersible polymer powders are used as binders mainly in the construction, coatings and adhesives sector. And building activity is constantly on the rise. Main reasons for the strong growth are the increasing economic growth and wealth coupled with rising populations, which results in more and more urbanisation, infrastructure investment and residential building activities.

This worldwide construction boom is driving demand for sophisticated speciality products and high-tech applications. But traditional mortars often have difficulty coping with the challenges of modern construction. This is where polymer chemistry comes into play, as a modification with organic polymer binders enables meeting higher demands: Polymer-modified mortars can cater to various technical properties that will allow time and cost savings, lower energy emission, lower energy consumption or lower carbon foot print. 

Growth forecast for the organic binders industry in India.

Construction-chemical additives are only just starting to raise their profile in developing countries like India since highly specialised additives increase costs at first sight and entail applications expertise. But, in the long term, this additional investment pays off: polymeric binders enable high-quality cementitious mortars with well-defined and constant characteristics, plus there are fewer mistakes in job-site mixing, the building materials comply with international standards, and the work on the job site is faster and safer. After all, quality, innovations and expertise are the keys to long-term success-and India is no exception. 

Requirements of organic binders in developed nations vs emerging markets.

When it comes to binders for construction and coatings applications, some requirements are the same everywhere: Products must offer high efficiency, quality and performance while being cost-efficient and energy-saving, easy to process, and complying with environmental and safety standards. And to achieve these properties, organic binders are a key component.

Yet in many emerging markets, contractors or owners often cannot afford to enhance their building materials with high-end polymer binders, even though they appreciate the benefits. Further, building techniques differ from region to region, as well as locally available raw materials. For these reasons, our local R&D is working closely with our customers to find adapted solutions that offer the required properties, while at the same time being affordable for the emerging markets. 

The industry is looking to use more of bio-based polymers. 

I think bio-based polymers are becoming increasingly attractive, as they are permanently available and more sustainable. But in order to expand their potential, bio-based polymers must possess properties that justify their use of traditional polymers.

For this reason, WACKER has developed a special binder system based on polyvinyl acetate. These additives can considerably enhance the processing and property profile of biopolyesters or blends with starch, while the biodegradability of the biopolymers blends is maintained. 

Altogether, polymers based on renewable resources may represent a sustainable alternative to petrochemicals. Until now, it’s still a niche application, but a new development may increase the range of applications and processing options of biopolyesters. 

Sectors with growth potential in India related to organic binders.

In India, we see a lot of growth potential in the construction, coatings and adhesives sectors. Here, rising affluence, coupled with growing market and customer requirements, is fueling demand for products incorporating our high-quality polymers as binders.

Just take the construction industry as an example: Through the addition of polymer powders as binders, mortar mixtures are easier to process, can be applied more thinly and their properties can be substantially improved, too. But, so far, some 80 percent of dry-mix mortars used globally are not modified – yet. In India, construction experts have only just started to appreciate the benefits of polymer-modified dry-mix mortars. So we see big potential for growth here. 

Customer demands in terms of the organic binders solutions.

Customers using organic binders in construction and coatings applications want products that are easy to process and safe to use, while at the same time offering high quality and performance. Additionally, products should be cost-efficient, locally available, and environmentally friendly.

Consequently, there is a growing need for technologies that can combine high application performance and low emissions while at the same time offering good cost in use. As a result, the popularity of WACKER’s dispersions and dispersible polymer powders as binders is increasing steadily, in particular as WACKER offers tailor-made solutions for a different market and customer needs.

Overview about organic binders business of your company in India.

Globally and in India, WACKER is a leading producer of vinyl acetate-based binders in the form of dispersible powders, dispersions and solid resins. They are widely used, for example in construction, paints and coatings or adhesives.

In India, our pioneering VAE (vinyl acetate-ethylene) technology is already quite well-known, yet, it is still in the early stage of evolution here. Over the last few years, we have seen low double-digit annual growth rates with our VAE products, and we expect this trend to continue.

Besides growing further, the idea is also to develop a more diverse set of well-established applications to serve the regional markets.

Focus regarding R&D and innovation for organic binders specific to the India market. 

To provide the Indian building sector with the necessary expertise in high-quality construction chemicals, WACKER features a technical centre in Mumbai, which helps local customers and partners to develop innovative products and applications for the Indian market. We run comparative lab tests on construction products that take account of local raw materials, environmental conditions and regional building methods.

An example here is white cement based skim coats or putties, a special form of wall coatings very popular in India. These are one to two millimetre thin coatings which are applied to rough walls and ceilings in order to achieve a smooth, flat surface before painting or wallpapering. However, to create a thin, smooth and durable coating, polymer binders have to be added to the mortar. About 15 years ago, WACKER initiated the modification of skim coats with polymer powders in India-with huge success: In the last ten years, the market for dry-mix skim coats in India grew to about three million tonnes annually.

Another example are waterproofing membranes for long-lasting building protection based on polymer binders: They help to avoid damages caused by water such as mould and mildew, cracks, or flaking off walls – which regularly occur during monsoon time. To better suit the needs of the local market, our experts are developing local polymer dispersion grades for permanent, hard-wearing seals. 

Ensuring environment-friendliness of your products.

At WACKER, we take environmental, health and safety criteria into account at every stage of the product life cycle. We try to minimise raw-material consumption while selecting materials which offer maximum ecological benefit.

We further constantly work on eco-friendly solutions, for instance for energy- or water-saving building products or low-emission interior paints. One example is our vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) binders: Since VAE polymers do not require an external plasticiser, they are ideal for the formulation of low-emission paints that meet the latest environmental and safety standards.

Another sustainable example is our binders for tiling mortars: The so-called thin-bed technique makes tile laying a lot more efficient and cost-effective. Whereas 10 kg of tile adhesive were needed per square meter in the past, only 3 kg of dry mortar containing our polymer powder are needed for the same area now – and lower cement consumption also means significantly reduced CO2 emissions.

© Chemical Today Magazine

See the Interview in Chemical Today magazine (Pg. 22)

View the Interview on Mobile, download the Chemical Today magazine app 



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