By Leke Adeseri
For the first time, a world patented,Â Nano technology-based water soluble waterproofing agent known as Zycocil has been introduced into theÂ Nigerian market to boost building and engineering construction in the country.
It can be easily applied by spray brush or roller to new and existing masonry structures to protect them from mildew, fungus, efflorescence, leaching, stains,Â premature ageing, scaling, spalling and corrosion ofÂ reinforced steel.
According to Femi Oshoniyi, Managing Director of Sparta Contractors, a building and civil engineering construction company in Magodo, Lagos, Nano sized ZycosilÂ penetrates deeply into structures and provides repellence into cementitious pores where other film-formers like silicone resins, acrylic resins and epoxy resins cannotÂ penetrate.
â€œBecause of its nature, it penetrates up to some millimetres and fills micro cracks, still maintaining them breathable. ItÂ can be applied to any substrate, old or new like concrete,Â brick, mortar, plaster, cement sheets, lime, sandstone, granite, tile and grout by using low pressure agro sprayÂ pump or brush or paint roller for vertical surfaces and simply flooding for the horizontal surfaces.
â€œThe substance can be used for basements, foundations, utilities like kitchens, toilets and bathrooms, internal andÂ external walls, rooftops, underground water tanks and overhead cement tanks for hospitals, clinics and hotels and restaurants, concrete paved areas and paving blocks cement sheets and pipes, as well asÂ clay/cement pots, statues and sculptures.â€
The product, Oshoniyi said, also finds invaluable use at the industrial level in the construction of bridges,Â flyovers and tunnels, dockyards and shipyards, railroad sleepers, aircraft runways as well as in road construction where it is used as an underlay and overlay on bitumen roads to prevent water rise through capillary action and to prevent water from penetrating the surface of the bitumen road.
For rural roads, Oshoniyi said; â€œZycosilis is anÂ excellent solution to make ordinary laterite roadsÂ irreversibly hydrophobic and water repellant, gives higher compaction of soil, improves the resistance to wind and rain erosion of treated soil.
Oshoniyi stated further that the new product will be useful and more effective in solving the water problem people face in the Lekki area of Lagos where the durability of many structures is now being threatened by undergroundÂ water.
The patentee, Mr. Prakesh Mehta said the durability of concrete structures depends on extentÂ Â destructive reactions occur duringÂ the life cycle of the structure.
â€œAll these reactions require water as reactant or as reaction medium. If intrusion of water is reduced then theseÂ reactions can be minimized and durability of the structure can be increased. Therefore, it is important to protect cement material from water.
â€œThe technology that provides long lasting protectionÂ from water and salt, is based on organo-silane chemistry. Organosilane compounds areÂ reactive and penetrative materials that provide longevity to the structure. This technology has been known for over 40Â years. However, because it is a solvent-based technology andÂ relatively expensive, widespread use did not materialize.
According to Mehta, the product developed by ZydexÂ Industries, Vadodara, Gujarat,Â is an organosilaneÂ water soluble product which,Â because of itâ€™s nanoÂ sizeÂ penetrates inside the pores of the substrates.
Waterproofing of building materials has been aÂ problem in theÂ last 1,000 years. The problem has not beenÂ addressed completely due to lack of understanding at nano level of the building material.Â â€œThe new development in science and technology has allowed usingÂ the latestÂ nano technology to produce eco-friendly organo-silicon products to waterproof practically all the different kindsÂ of building materials. The nano technology has ensured that service life of this approach will lead to life cyclesÂ beyond 20 to 30 years at very economical cost,â€ said Vascant Kothari, managing director, VXL Nigeria Limited.