Icrete: A New Age Material for Concrete Construction

V. R. Kowshika, Executive Director, Amazecrete
V. R. Kowshika, Executive Director, Amazecrete, shares insights on the properties of Icrete that help reduce shrinkage and permeability, while increasing the durability of concrete.

What are the properties of Icrete?
Icrete is a new concrete additive made from industrial by-products. It is a carefully selected blend of micro minerals available in powder form and conforms to ASTM C 1797. It chemically reacts with intermediate phases of cement to increase its strength and durability. Though not a super-plasticizer, it helps to maximize profitability, durability, and use of supplementary cementitious materials. It helps to make low cement content systems with increased durability and sustainability. The dosage of Icrete is between 0.7 to 2.25%.

Benefits:
  • Stronger and denser than conventionally produced concrete, partially due to the filling on concrete pores by the reaction products of Icrete.
  • High ultimate strength, reduced shrinkage.
  • Decreased permeability to water and other corrosive chemicals.
  • Better economics when compared with similar materials.
  • Reduces cementitious materials needed to achieve a specific strength.
  • Lowers cement and increases SCM loading.
  • Because of the ability of Icrete reaction to hold extra water, the concrete produced by adding Icrete undergoes lesser problems associated with shrinkage and bleed water.
How does Icrete induce reduction in cement requirement?
  • It works by promoting the dissolution of alumina and iron present in the supplementary cementitious materials and cement.
  • It accelerates the hydration of intermediate phases present in cement and hence increases the rate of silicate reaction, forming additional binding phases other than C-S-H.
  • It aids in the formation of additional binding phases, thereby reducing the pore size. By this unique action, Icrete increases the strength even at reduced cement /cementitious content.
What are the application areas of Icrete as a waterproofing compound?
The unique reactions triggered by Icrete in the concrete system reduce capillary pore size which means good enhancement in permeability. Many test results by Dr. Ramkumar (inventor of the product) and an independent third party have conclusively proved the permeability reduction capability of the product, which is to the tune of 50% or even more in many tests.

The product therefore can be utilized as an integral waterproofing compound to enhance impermeability of concrete, mortars, or any cement based systems. In fact, tests have shown that Icrete complies with IS 2645 as an integral waterproofing compound.

How does Icrete help in increasing the content of Flyash and GGBS in concrete?
Icrete: A New Age Material for Concrete Construction
The specially formulated invention works on Alumina and Iron present in the cementitious products like Flyash and GGBS and makes compounds which fill up capillary pores and also makes concrete more denser and stronger. Hence, we have seen many possibilities in the usage of SCMs - both in lab trials and field applications.

Observations:
  • We can get increased strengths when we use OPC+GGBS or OPC+PFA incorporated with Icrete.
  • We can reduce total cementitious content or we can increase use of SCMs with use of Icrete with same cementitious content.
  • In fact, Icrete allows very high loading of GGBS & PFA in conventional concrete mixtures.
How does Icrete influence the strength characteristics of traditional concrete mix?
Icrete modifies the micro-structure of concrete by interacting with cementitious products. We have seen in numerous trials the increase in strength compared to reference concrete. Icrete, by its unique action, gives comparable strengths and durability even when the cement reductions are in the order of 50 to 100 kgs per cubic meter at different dosage levels, and with different mix designs.

How has the market accepted such additives?
The concrete industry of India traditionally has embraced many technologies and innovations in the past 3 decades; we have seen many customers accepting the product easily after trials. We see a great future for innovative products which make a disruptive impact in the way concreting is done. The benefits of Icrete are appreciated by many concrete producers. In fact, Amazecrete has been successful in introducing Icrete to many customers across India, who have shared their experiences on the benefits of the product and value additions brought by Icrete.

In a recent plant trial in a ready-mix company where a popular product was used at 6%, Icrete was tried at 2% and the results were found to be encouraging. The customer has already started using the same for M60 grade concrete.

We are confident that the product will find its place in all concrete manufacturing units. We have plans to introduce many other such beneficial products for the concrete industry.

Please tell us about Amazecrete and its manufacturing facilities.
Amazecrete strives to provide Green Concrete solutions to the construction industry through its flagship product Icrete. The product is the brainchild of Dr. Ramkumar, who has worked for almost 2 decades to bring this product to the market. As Director of Navodaya Sciences, he has been helping the company introduce Icrete to the concrete world. Our R&D facilities involve huge investments as we need to do both basic testing of concrete and a lot of work on hardened properties of concrete, especially related to durability.

The company focusses on providing readymix concrete, precast concrete and ready-to-use plasters which can be pumped. Icrete can provide 20 - 30% reduction in cement content in concrete thereby reducing CO2 emissions and thus being an alternative for an ecofriendly solution like GGBS and Flyash.

Icrete is produced by carefully planned proprietary processes (invented by Dr. Ramkumar) at a state-of-the-art the production facility in Trichy. The processes are closely monitored by modern QA/QC systems. There is constant evaluation of raw materials and the processes till the finished product is ready, followed by tests both at our in-house laboratory and at third party labs like the Bureau Veritas. More than 6000 trials have been done to tailor make the product to reach the current efficiency level.
Concrete Construction September - October 2022
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