Plasticisers are mainly added to polymers during the production stage and work by reducing the intermolecular forces between polymer chains, allowing them to slide more easily past each other. This results in increased flexibility and improved processing characteristics of the PVC material. The addition of the substance reduces the viscosity and friction of the material. Furthermore, adding a plasticiser simplifies the handling of the material during its production. The objective of adding them is to make the production process convenient and meet the requirements of the end product. Plasticisers also can be added to inorganic materials, such as concrete formulations, to improve fluidity when pouring.

Categories of PVC Plasticisers

There are multiple plasticisers in the plastic sector. The numerous options make it challenging when identifying and selecting the right ones, but some of the most commonly used ones include:

1- Phthalate Plasticisers (Polymer plasticiser): These are among the most widely used plasticisers for PVC. Typically, polymer plasticisers use phthalate esters to make the material flexible and durable. Common polymer plasticisers include phthalate, terephthalate, and trimellites.Examples include diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). However, due to environmental and health concerns, there has been a shift towards using alternative plasticizers.

2- Non-Phthalate Plasticizers: As a response to the concerns about phthalates, non-phthalate plasticisers have gained popularity. These alternatives are designed to provide the same benefits as traditional phthalate plasticisers without the associated health and environmental risks. Examples include adipates, citrates, and trimellitates.

3- Bio-Based and Renewable Plasticizers: There is also an increasing interest in using bio-based plasticisers derived from renewable sources such as vegetable oils. These offer both environmental benefits and the potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuel-derived additives.

Plasticisers used in concrete

These are plasticisers and superplasticisers that are applied when preparing concrete. They are used to enhance the workability and strength of the concrete. Adding plasticisers to concrete helps to reduce water and enhance the workability of the mortar. Plasticisers and superplasticisers are commonly used in ready-mixed concrete, high-performance concrete (high strength and high fluidity concrete), light-weight concrete, marine concrete, self-compacting concrete, precast concrete, concrete piles, fly ash concrete, blast furnace slag concrete, and in gypsum board manufacturing. Here are some examples of plasticisers and superplasticisers used in concrete:

1- Plasticisers (Water-Reducing Admixtures): Plasticizers, also known as water-reducing admixtures, are additives that reduce the amount of water required to achieve a desired level of workability in concrete. This results in improved strength and durability by reducing the water-cement ratio. Some commonly used plasticisers include:

  • Lignosulfonates: These are derived from wood pulp and are one of the earliest types of plasticisers used in concrete. They improve workability and reduce the water content in the mix.
  • Naphthalene-based Plasticizers: These are effective in reducing water content while maintaining workability. They are particularly useful in producing concrete with improved early strength.

2- Superplasticisers (High-Range Water-Reducing Admixtures): Superplasticisers are a subset of plasticisers that have a greater water-reducing effect. They are capable of significantly increasing the flowability of concrete without sacrificing its strength. Superplasticisers are often used in situations where highly workable, self-consolidating concrete is needed. Some commonly used superplasticisers include:

  • Polycarboxylate Ether (PCE) Superplasticizers: These are a newer generation of superplasticisers and are highly effective at dispersing cement particles, leading to improved flow and workability. They are often used in modern concrete applications.
  • Sulfonated Naphthalene Formaldehyde (SNF) Superplasticizers: Similar to naphthalene-based plasticizers, these are effective in achieving high workability, especially in concrete with extended set times

Get Quality Plasticisers from Bisley

Bisley offers a wide range of superplasticisers used in various industries. Call us today for more information about our products. We offer high-quality concrete plasticisers to meet your needs.