Crystalline Technology vs. Densification Technology

In the current construction materials marketplace, crystalline waterproofing systems have been steadily gaining acceptance as a superior long-term method of providing effective concrete waterproofing protection. The success of crystalline technology has led to a large quantity of "Densification Products" being marketed as crystalline technologies. This has resulted in questions on how to differentiate crystalline technology (they contain no silicates or hydrophobic materials) from densification technology (composed of a hydrophobic, reactive base).

Hydrophilic vs. Hydrophobic
Hydrophilic, (Hydrophile from the Greek hydros meaning water and philia meaning friendship) is in reference to the physical property of a molecule that can transiently bond with water. Given that Corecryst technologies are hydrophilic in nature, water is used in the process of crystalline development.

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Hydrophobic, (hydrophobicity, from the combination of water in Attic Greek hydro- and for fear phobos) is used in reference to the physical property of a molecule (known as a hydrophobe) that is repelled from a mass of water. In relation to waterproofing, Densification are hydrophobic in nature and function by repelling water. Water is not used as part of the process of crystalline development.

Comparison of Corecryst's Catalytic Function versus Silicate's Reactive Function
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A catalyst uses the process of catalysis (in which the rate of a chemical reaction is increased by means of a chemical substance). Unlike reactive chemicals such as silicate-based materials, a catalyst is not consumed in the reaction. Corecryst (due to its function as a catalyst) may participate in multiple chemical transformations, provided there are un-hydrated cement particles and water present.

Densificaiton products such as silicates, stereates, etc are consumed by a reactive process in which these products react with the free lime in concrete. This type of material is finite as eventually the reactive materials are consumed. When waterproofing a surface area with a reactive technology, the reaction is limited to the initial surface area as pores and capillaries near the surface are sealed. This inhibits the passage of further reactive materials into the concrete. Any excess reactive materials become wasted.

Corecryst's unique crystalline technology requires cement particles, water and time to develop (functions with or with out free lime being present). The process begins with the application of the crystalline materials, and continues to improve constantly until either, there is no more cement particles or until there is no more water present. Since concrete has huge amounts (virtually unlimited for this process) of un-hydrated cement particles, the process will function until the water is no longer present. Should water become present in the future (due to increased hydrostatic pressure, micro cracking or some other cause), the catalytic nature of Corecryst's crystalline process allows the waterproofing abilities to engage until the water has been stopped.

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Densification technologies begin reaction immediately and continue until either all the reactive materials have sealed all the initial pores and capillaries within the concrete stopping any further reaction from occurring or until the reactive process has been used up. What usually occurs in concrete is a combination, in which the reactive materials fill the pores and capillaries using up the reactive capabilities of the silicates in contact with the free lime. Excess silicates (should an over application be applied) sit dormant on the surface unable to penetrate into the concrete through the initial surface densification created by the reaction between the silicates and the free lime. These excess amounts result in an accumulation of metasilicate residue that may contribute to osmosis and flooring system failures.

The catalytic nature of Corecryst's crystalline technology results in not only a permanent solution to water ingress into the pores and capillaries, but also results in the ability to self-heal micro cracking as it occurs should water become present at a future date. As stated previously, it is the catalytic nature of the crystalline that allows it to always be present and to always be ready to perform, requiring only that water becomes present to re-initiate the process between the cement particles and the water.

Densification technologies often claim self-healing capabilities as well. What is often not mentioned clearly is that these abilities are limited to the micro-cracks that are already in place. The reactive nature of the densifier will heal micro-cracking as the reactive materials penetrate into the micro-cracks during application, however, once the reactive process has taken place the process is finished. Densification materials do not possess the ability to reactivate in the future as only the reacted material (which has already been used up) remains. All excess materials will have been wasted and eliminated over a short period of time.
NBM&CW February 2017
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