Features and applications of Polymer-bitumen membrane

Features and applications of Polymer-bitumen membrane

CeoInsights Team, 0

Polymer-bitumen membranes are a complex mixture of organic polymers, bitumen, and other chemical additives. The bitumen component of the polymer-bitumen membrane protects the membrane against damage caused by low-pressure radiative heating, chemical attack, and pitting corrosion. The polymer component makes the film flexible. This combination produces a highly resistive to heat and other external factors. Polymer-bitumen membranes are also impermeable to water vapor and oxygen. Bitumen is a naturally occurring and highly durable material consisting of very long molecules that form networks of silky hair-like structures. It is insoluble in most organic solvents, oils, and gas but soluble in water.

Hydrostatic pressure resistance
Polymer-bitumen membrane is a material with a soft layer of bitumen on the surface used for building waterproofing membranes. It has excellent hydrostatic pressure resistance and adhesion to concrete, making it especially suitable for high-density building projects. The polymer-bitumen membrane expands without tearing when the water pressure increases due to its stretchable properties. That also allows it to keep its elasticity and prevent water leakage even after long periods of use or exposure to harsh weather conditions. For example, polymer-bitumen membranes from the Technonicol company can be used on roofs, terraces, basements, foundations, engineering structures

Surface tension resistance
The polymer bitumen membrane is also characterized by excellent water absorption. The bitumen proportion in the polymer-bitumen membrane provides excellent water resistance, which means that it prevents the penetration of water into concrete and prevents air from entering. This property gives it an edge in building waterproofing applications, as it does not cause discoloration or cracking of concrete. As a result, the polymer-bitumen membrane protects the appearance and architectural integrity of the building long after construction is complete.

Chemical properties
The polymer-bitumen membrane has good chemical properties to resist alkaline, acidic, and saline environments, making it suitable for use in potentially corrosive environments like coastal areas or wastewater treatment plants.

Permeability value
The polymer bitumen membrane has a high permeability, allowing water and air to pass through it easily. That is important as it allows water vapor to pass through the membrane and prevents mold or mildew development. Additionally, this feature allows the construction site to remain dry even after applying the membrane and facilitates painting or waterproofing works afterward, improving work efficiency.

Excellent adhesion to concrete
A disadvantage of bitumen is its poor quality in terms of bonding with concrete during its curing period; this is mainly because bitumen becomes soft at a temperature below 5 degrees Celsius. However, the polymer-bitumen membrane has excellent adhesion to concrete during curing, making it ideal for building waterproofing applications and providing the strength needed for concrete structures.
These features make polymer-bitumen a material with outstanding quality that can be used for both construction materials and building waterproofing membranes. Therefore, when designing a project, it is important to clarify the function of each application and choose a material based on its suitability for each one.

Applications of polymer-bitumen membranes
Waterproofing is the primary application of polymer-bitumen membrane, which is a thin waterproof coating that is applied to roofs and walls and underneath houses as well. Polymer-bitumen membranes are used mainly in buildings but can also be used on larger structures such as tunnels. For instance, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge roof membrane was coated with a polymer-bitumen composite, which was planned to be watertight. The result was that the bridge suffered wind vibrations and eventually collapsed in 1940 due to high-speed winds of 85 miles per hour. This catastrophic collapse was the first use of polymer-bitumen on a large scale.
Polymer-bitumen membranes can be applied to roofs, walls, and under houses.
Polymer-bitumen membranes are also used on boats, but they only last 1-3 years due to exposure to UV rays and saltwater. The most common application is an exterior membrane coating used to prevent water from entering a structure or an underground pipe or building. Even if water enters the building, it will be contained within the walls by polymer-bitumen membranes because polymer-bitumen is highly resistant to chemical attack. Water leaks can be prevented rather than filling the building with water.

Thermal Insulation
Thermal insulation is another application of polymer bitumen membranes evolving. Thermal insulation describes the ability of a substrate to block heat transfer between solids and fluids (thermal mass). Thermal insulation aims to reduce the heat transfer into or out of a structure to minimize energy costs. This technology allows for either warm or cool spaces, depending on the needs at hand.
The main advantage of thermal insulation is reducing energy costs because less energy is needed to maintain the desired temperature. In cold weather, this technology can be used with heating and cooling systems to conserve energy by reducing wasted heat from the outside. If a thermal insulator has too much air trapped, it can be difficult and expensive to remove the trapped air. Polymer-bitumen membranes keep the structure insulated by forming a barrier that does not allow for heat transfer, but this also means that gases cannot escape from a structure without being let out slowly.
The main disadvantage of polymer bitumen membranes as a thermal insulator is the limited range of temperatures in which they can be used. They must be kept above 90 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain their structure, and they need to be kept below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them from becoming brittle. For the polymer-bitumen membrane to properly insulate, it must not contact the ground. The insulation value of a polymer-bitumen membrane drops off once it comes into contact with the ground because it is no longer an air gap.

Construction industry
The properties of polymer-bitumen make it ideal for use in the construction industry because it has a long-lasting thermal effect. Polymer-bitumen can be shaped into an air gap insulated layer that helps prevent heat transfer or block out noise, making polymer-bitumen a popular material for insulating pipes, refrigerators, and walls of buildings. Heat transfer is minimized because the polymer-bitumen membrane is an air gap insulator, which prevents heat from escaping through conduction.
Further, polymer-bitumen provides an excellent waterproof barrier for parking lots and other vast expanses that need protection from heavy rain and snow accumulation.
Polymer-bitumen membranes are in a class of "waterproofing applications" class because they are resistant to water but not chemicals. Technology has progressed so much in recent years that polymer-bitumen membranes have been used on structural materials such as concrete. Waterproofing applications can be considered similar to a waterproof mattress, where water is blocked from entering the structure, but chemicals and gases can still leak out of the structure.