State of Practice for Polymer Concrete Overlays


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Title: State of Practice for Polymer Concrete Overlays

Author(s): D.W. Fowler and D.P. Whitney

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 278


Appears on pages(s): 1-22

Keywords: polymer concrete, overlays, practice, state of the art, bridge decks

Date: 3/1/2011

Thin polymer concrete overlays (TPCOs) consist of a polymer binder and aggregates with a thickness of 1 inch (25 mm) or less. They have been widely used for providing long-lasting wearing surfaces for bridge decks. Their advantages include adding little dead load; very fast cure; shallow depths that eliminate raising approach slabs and permitting the transition from overlaid lane to non-overlaid lane during construction; excellent bond to concrete; very low permeability; and excellent skid resistance. Over 2200 have been installed in the U.S. and Canada, and they have become a recognized method for extending the lives of bridges. The state of practice has become well established. Evaluation of the substrate, repair of the substrate, and surface preparation are essential to having a sound surface for applying the TPCOs. The three types of overlays normally used are multiple layer, slurry and premixed. Epoxies are the most widely used resins although methacrylates and polyester styrenes are used for some applications. Resin application rates and aggregate gradings and application rates are also quite important.