MAPEI, producer of adhesives and chemical products for building, can look back on its 75-year history with pride.
From the massive Panama Canal project to the breathtaking Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangstze River; from London’s ingenious Olympic Stadium to Cape Town’s tallest skyscraper, Mapei’s technical expertise and innovative products are playing a key role.
The world’s most important waterway
The company is involved in the doubling of capacity of the 81km-long Panama Canal, arguably the most important waterway in the world. Scheduled for completion in 2014, Mapei has been supplying admixtures for both the mass and marine concrete work on what is one the largest construction sites in the world. Mapei’s research laboratories developed a new generation of admixture technology to suit the specially designed 5,5 million cubic metres of concretes being used for the project. This included a highly evolved superplasticizing admixture, Dynamon XP2 Evolution 1, to enhance workability and handling properties.
The company is also contributing to the refurbishing of the Gatún Locks on the existing canal, considered by many to be the most impressive reinforced concrete structure ever built. The work requires a special type of concrete, which incorporates two Mapei admixtures: Planitop 15, an inorganic powder for concrete cast in formwork, and Mapecure SRA, which is a liquid admixture specially formulated to reduce the formation of cracks caused by hygrometric shrinkage in normal and self-compacting concrete.
Sustainable Olympic Games structures
The unique facilities for the London 2012 Olympic Games were designed and constructed to embody sustainability as their underlying philosophy. Stadium structures are able to adapt to the sport development needs of the British community far into the future and the athletes’ village has revitalised a rundown, derelict area of London to become a desirable residential district. Mapei supplied an extensive range of products contributing to the durable, sustainable quality principles used in the construction of all the facilities.
The running track in the main Olympic stadium was installed with Mapei’s two component adhesive, Adesilex G19, an epoxy-polyurethane. In sections of the athletes’ village, substrate preparation featured the company’s quick-setting and drying hydraulic binder, Mapecem. Keraquick high-performance cementitious adhesives were used to install floor and wall tiles, finished with Ultracolor Plus fast-setting, water-repellent grout.
Similarly, the company’s products were used at London’s Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon Centre Court and Earls Court sports arena, as well as other sports facilities in England.
Bringing the technology to South Africa
The Group’s 55,000 customers are served by 58 production facilities operating in 27 countries on five continents, and 18 main research centres. In the last five years, the Mapei building chemicals technology that has proven itself successfully in the full glare of international competition, has been introduced to the local construction industry by subsidiary, Mapei South Africa. “It has been an exciting growth phase for us,” says the local company’s Antony Offenberg, Manager Admixtures and Grinding Aids. “We are now viewed as a valuable contributor to the South African construction industry and are increasingly involved in major construction projects.”
Reaching for the sky
Mapei technology is currently being used for two of Murray & Roberts prestigious office developments: one in Cape Town and the other in Sandton, Gauteng. The 32 storey
Portside building in Cape Town is destined to be the Mother City’s tallest building and South Africa’s first Green Star rated skyscraper. Mapei is providing close technical service support and is ensuring that the unequalled technical resources of the international Group are available to develop the most effective solutions to construction challenges. The extensive involvement with the Portside project has included the supply of products such as the modified acrylic-based super-plasticiser Dynamon Easy 31 for high water reduction and extra-long workability, as well as speciality high strength repair mortars.
At 102 Rivonia, an architecturally advanced commercial development in Sandton, Mapei has a technical sales team on hand to provide support to the contractor with product installation advice, dosing systems and on-site testing. The fast track project is using a high cement replacement concrete mix incorporating fly ash, a recycled by-product from coal-fired power stations. The formulation provides a high ultimate strength of up to 80MPa for the building’s structure, while making a significant contribution to the ‘green’ status of the project. This is further supported through the use of a vegetable-based mould release agent, Mapeform ECO 31, and Mapecure WF75, a biodegradable curing compound that fully degrades over 28 days. “The Mapei range of products has allowed us to increase the green parameters of our projects with a welcome high level of technical service backup not experienced in South Africa until now,” says Murray & Roberts’ Group Concrete & Research Manager, Cyril Attwell, commenting on Mapei’s involvement in the two projects. “Their technical assistance has accelerated our own green technologies of increasing the amount of waste material utilised at Portside and 102 Rivonia to reduce the carbon dioxide footprint of these structures.”
Offering more advanced sustainable solutions
“Our South African customers are appreciating that there is new technology available, offering genuine advantages in quality, ease of use and application productivity,” comments Offenberg. “Added to this, the demand for green construction is increasing rapidly and we are uniquely positioned with a wide range of certified environmentally-friendly building systems.