Polymer concrete is the generalized name for cement concrete, consisting of a dispersed fraction (sand, quartz, mineral dyes) with the addition of thermoactive binder, as a rule - epoxy resin, acrylic or others. Synthetic additives in the composition of polymer concrete give it many additional properties that have a positive effect on the quality and durability of the material. Polymer concrete is more durable than ordinary concrete, both in tension and pressure, is more resistant to moisture and frost, is not prone to cracking and does not absorb water.
High-strength and Ultra-high-strength concrete (HPC / UHPC or Ultra High Performance Concrete) are grades of concrete with extremely high strength and durability. Europe was developed in the 80s for specialized applications requiring superior strength and corrosion resistance - marine anchors, bridges and seismic structures. Over time, the use of UHPC has expanded to high-strength applications in narrow profiles such as bridges and building facades, where the strength of the material, wear resistance and light weight are crucial. The material is highly resistant to both abrasive and chemical effects.
The decorative details are made in special, maximally compacted matrices, using a composite mixture of high quality materials with different grain size, selected according to strict criteria. Special cements, active mineral additives and chemical additives of the latest generation are used in order to obtain a ductile mixture at very low water-cement factors (0.32–0.22). Mixing such a mixture with conventional mixers is impossible and therefore it is necessary to use special intensive mixers that ensure a mixture with high homogeneity and a minimum content of entrained air - less than 2%.
The technology allows the production of decorative elements with great durability and sufficient strength with reduced volume and reduced weight compared to ordinary concrete. The manufactured elements have high precision and detail of the surface, including additional surface treatment (washed, etched, polished, blasted, impregnated, etc.). It is possible to implement the elements by means of spraying technology, including in pre-prepared and complex formwork forms, as well as their volumetric coloring.
However, when using it as a facade decoration, some features must be taken into account. The use of decorative concrete elements at high heights is not recommended (given the long-standing alternative lighter decorations of polystyrene and polyurethane). All types of concrete decorations are relatively heavy and it must be certain that the facade will withstand their load. The installation of the details is complicated (requires their secure reinforcement) and more expensive compared to the installation of other types of decorations.