sealants for ports being used in a harbor

Sealants for ports increase durability and protect the soil

Ports are busy areas subject to continuous traffic on and off water. Ships of all sizes come and go picking up and delivering cargo, brought to the port by trucks and trains, and people who have arrived by public or private vehicles. To protect the ports and the large concrete field in them, special sealants for ports have been developed.

The sealants for harbors and ports increase durability and safety as well as protect the soil and water from contamination by chemicals by making the joints impermeable.

Desired characteristics of sealants for concrete fields in ports

As ports and harbors are located in harsh environments where fresh or seawater are present, exposure to the elements inevitable and where the traffic never stops, the industrial sealants for ports have several desired characteristics which guarantee durability of concrete fields.

sealants for ports requiring seawater resistance
Sealants for ports must be resistant to many factors such as seawater, fuels, mechanical stress and abrasion.
  • Resistance to chemicals and water: the best sealants for ports are resistant to fresh or seawater depending on the environments requirements, and to chemicals ranging from mild acids and gritting salt to fuels and motor oil.
  • Heavy mechanical stress resistance: along with the trucks delivering cargo containers comes the heavy loads. Not only are there heavy loaded trucks but also industrial cranes to move the containers to the ship.
  • Abrasion resistance: ports and harbors are subject to continuous traffic meaning that the sealants used on concrete fields must be extremely resistant to abrasion caused by the traffic.
  • Resistance to microorganisms: especially marine environment offers excellent conditions for algae and other microorganisms to grow. They may, however, contribute to faster degradation of concrete. Therefore, the sealants must prevent the growth and not be affected by it.
  • Weather resistance: last but not least, sealants used in ports are always exposed to the elements from sunshine to rain to snowfall depending on the location.

Factors to consider when choosing sealants for harbors and ports

Next to the physical properties, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a sealant for ports and harbors. These are related to the efficiency of the sealants:

  • Application: sealants can be applied through different methods which allow the application to be completed in different time frames. The fastest method is not always the bes: one should opt for the most suitable method resulting in the most durable seals.
  • Curing time: different types of sealants for ports require different curing times. Usually the most beneficial sealants cure fast and so minimise downtime.
  • Durability: sometimes the more complex application method and longer curing time results in an extremely durable sealant which does not require maintenance for the first 25 years. This however, means longer initial downtime.
  • Need for maintenance: some sealants may be fast and easy to apply but might not lead to a maintenance free result. Therefore, it is good to consider whether short downtime due to maintenance is desired, or whether initial downtime could be extended in order to reduce the need for maintenance.

3 types of sealants for port concrete fields

sealants for ports resisting heavy loads and abrasion by container
Epoxy polysulfide sealants for ports result in strong seals which are resistant to chemicals and abrasion.

Ports are harsh environments which require the sealants to be heavy duty qualified. Several types of sealants can be applied to concrete fields in ports for both new concrete and repairs:

  • MS polymer: modified silicone sealants retain the chemical resistance of industrial silicone sealants,, but they also have increased abrasion and mechanical stress resistance. These properties make MS polymer sealants an ideal choice for ports as they also commonly have a life expectancy of 25 years.
  • Polysulfide: polysulfide sealants are the ones that provide the chemical resistance especially to fuels and oil. They are not affected by full immersion in fuels. Abrasion and mechanical stress resistance can be achieved by modifying the formulation.
  • Epoxy polysulfide: when epoxy is combines with polysulfide, it is possible to create extremely strong and abrasion resistant sealants without compromising on chemical resistance.

The best sealant for ports results from expert advice

Choosing the sealants for ports and harbors is not always as easy a job as one might think. Many factors need to be taken into consideration and the physical properties of the sealant must be as beneficial as possible. Therefore, our experts are happy to help you choose the best possible sealing systems for your port or harbor construction. All you need to do is contact us and share some project details.


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