Developments in waterproof membranes aid to withstand heavy rain and wind uplift conditions

With climate change causing increasingly severe weather conditions worldwide, the demands on the construction industry are growing. Roofing membranes have to be able to withstand heavy rain and wind uplift conditions. The original test parameters for roofing uplift were developed by Professor Hans Gerhardt and colleagues. Gerhardt will speak at the next AMI international conference, Waterproof Membranes 2011. He is currently based at the I.F.I. Institut Fuer Industrieaerodynamik. In the UK, the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE) is a centre for construction product testing, including the fire performance of roofing and will outline current protocols and regulations. The predominant form of waterproof membranes in Portugal is bitumen-based, and the civil engineering institute, LNEC, has recently conducted studies into several aspects of the performance: similar work has been carried out by the Slovak University. With the green building initiatives worldwide, construction companies are looking to suppliers to improve their carbon footprint. Waterproof membrane producers have risen to this challenge, for example, Derbigum has a membrane product from recycled material. For TPO membranes, Lucobit has looked at the LEED aspects (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design). At the same time, Davis-Standard has developed technology to minimise the amount of substrate used during the production of reinforced waterproof membranes. Coextrusion and lamination can be used to combine polymers in membranes: Raven Industries has expertise in this field. Liquid polymer membranes are in the portfolio of many membrane suppliers: Itumex (1984) has systems for applying polymer to waterproof parking areas constructed from prefabricated concrete. High barrier properties are particularly important in geomembranes for landfill applications where leachate can contaminate the surrounding ground water. HR Chempharm has a superabsorbent polymer for use as an active component in barriers, while Nitroil Polyurea’s products can interact with geotextile. Firestone Building Products is a world leading supplier of EPDM based waterproof membranes: current projects include the geomembrane liner for the El Golfo reservoir in the Canary Islands, where the company is carrying out condition monitoring. In the Czech Republic Juta supplies polyethylene based geomembranes. A growing use of geoembranes is in tunnel lining as transportation links develop worldwide. This is a safety-critical application, so companies like Tecnotest AG in Switzerland develop and implement quality control tests. Joining of membranes is another vital factor in membrane integrity: Leister Process Technologies leads the market in welding technologies. AMI conducts regular market surveys into the waterproof membrane market and consultant Jon Nash will deliver a review paper at Waterproof Membranes 2011 in November in Cologne. The Middle East markets will be outlined by Polaris International, a producer from Bahrain, and Ardex New Zealand will talk about product use in the Anzac region. This annual global conference provides a unique opportunity for the industry to examine the challenges and opportunities of the international waterproofing marketplace.
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