Canadian Plastics

Concrete plasticizer additives support world’s tallest building

Canadian Plastics   

Dubai's economic bubble might have burst, but that doesn't make the newly opened Burj Dubai skyscraper any less impressive.

Dubai’s economic bubble might have burst, but that doesn’t make the newly opened Burj Dubai skyscraper any less impressive.

Rising more than 2,700 feet to 160 stories, the Burj Dubai is the tallest building in the world — an altitude record, and construction challenge, met and mastered in part through the use of Glenium SKY concrete plasticizer additives from BASF.

Based on polycarboxylate ether polymers, the material is capable of being processed on-site without quality loss, said Dr. Tilman Krauch, head of the construction chemicals division of BASF, and offers sufficient flowability during the pumping process to prevent segregation in spite of the high pressure used. On the Dubai project, the concrete could be pumped up to the dizzying altitude of 600 meters without interruption.

Glenium SKY additives also improve concrete’s early strength, Krauch continued, making it possible to push ahead quickly with construction: With two stories added per week, the building speed of the Burj Dubai exceeded the usual Dubai standard of one storey a week.


Another potential problem: The enormous height of the Burj Dubai causes extreme pressure in the concrete structure. To prevent the skyscraper from collapsing, Glenium SKY lends the concrete a compressive strength of up to 80 N/mm2, evocatively described by Krauch as equaling the entire weight of a small car resting on a space as small as the big toe.

All told, the foundations and the superstructure of the Burj Dubai required approximately 180,000 m3 concrete with Glenium plasticizer.

“The construction of Burj Dubai is an engineering masterpiece, and we’re proud that we could contribute to its success,” Krauch said.

BASF Canada (Mississauga, Ont.);;1-866-485-2273


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