Highway maintenance engineers are increasingly turning to silicone-based sealants and water repellants to protect bridges and raised roadways from the elements. In colder months, this means protecting surfaces from ice and snow as well as deicing salts and other surface safety treatments that can rust or corrode the substructure components, columns and piers.
“Potholes in pavement caused by the freeze-thaw cycles of winter can be inconvenient, but damage to bridges or raised roads can be catastrophic,” said Jason Sika of Dow Corning Construction.
When water penetrates a structure, it can carry salts to the interior of reinforced concrete, and these salts can cause or accelerate corrosion of the steel reinforcing bars. As the bars corrodes, they also expand, which can result in cracks, breakage or even failure.
Silicone sealants and water repellants can be used in two important ways to handle changing weather conditions and protect the integrity of the structure:
- Silicone sealants for expansion and contraction joints in bridges to provide flexible resistance to moisture and puncture;
- Penetrating silicone water repellents that effectively protect all surfaces of a bridge or roadway, as well as preserve the aesthetics of the structure.
“With aging road and bridge infrastructure becoming more of concern, civil engineers are finding that silicone products can be a key part of a long-term solution to keep drivers and pedestrians safe,” said Sika.
To read case studies regarding the use of Dow Corning silicones on actual bridges, roadways, and airport runways, click here.