Superplasticizers play an important role in the design of many modern concrete mixes. These powerful admixtures improve the flow of concrete without the addition of extra water, which helps maintain the strength of the mix design. In recent decades, a new type of superplasticizer has emerged: the polycarboxylate superplasticizer. While this newer product provides many of the same benefits as the traditional superplasticizers, there are some differences between the two products.

Understanding The Chemistry

Traditional superplasticizers are composed of sulfonate groups, such as sulfonated melamine formaldehyde or sulfonated naphthalene formaldehyde. These chemical groups help disperse water and cement molecules to reduce the amount of water required for a specific slump. Polycarboxylate superplasticizers use a polymer-based chemistry with pendant carboxylate groups. This unique molecular structure offers enhanced dispersion of the water molecules, resulting in higher water-reduction.

What Does this Mean for Your Concrete?

Polycarboxylate superplasticizers typically offer significantly higher water reduction than traditional superplasticizers. Fritz-Pak’s Supercizer PCE can reduce the water requirements for your concrete mix by up to 40%, while our Supercizer 1 reduces water-requirements by 20%. Sometimes polycarboxylate superplasticizers can also slow down the setting time of the concrete. In the early days of development, they also tended to increase the air content of the concrete. Now, it is very common for polycarboxylates to include an anti-foaming agent to combat the increase in air content. Supercizer PCE contains a small dose of an anti-foaming agent and is also formulated not to affect the set times of your concrete

How to Choose the Right Superplasticizer

When selecting a superplasticizer for concrete applications, it’s essential to consider factors such as project requirements, environmental conditions, and desired performance characteristics. While traditional superplasticizers remain widely used and cost-effective for many applications, polycarboxylate superplasticizers offer advanced performance benefits and greater versatility in challenging construction scenarios. Check out our video to learn how to choose the right product for your project

Learn More

You can request a sample of any our superplasticizers or place an order through the website.  Don’t forget to follow our social media channels for more information about how our products can improve your concrete.