The chemical resistance of material should be considered with precisely defined substances that may appear on its surface. Chemicals include strong detergents, fuels or agents used in industry but also products that we deal with on an everyday basis, such as salt, sugar or fats, which can also damage the floor.
The primary role of resin floors is to protect the concrete substrate, on which they are applied, against external factors. For this reason, when selecting them, their chemical resistance should be taken into account, together with specific conditions of use, e.g. high temperature.
Experts of the Flowcrete brand, a leading producer and supplier of resin floors, advise:
• how to create a list of substances with which the flooring may come into contact,
• how to read the information contained in the chemical resistance tables,
• how to reduce the risk of degradation of the floor due to strong chemicals.
One of the first steps when choosing a floor for a specific project is to define conditions of use. It is worth creating a list of substances that may potentially appear on its surface. The most important factors include the concentration of active ingredients and the time from the occurrence of dirt to its removal.
It is worth asking for the support of technical advisors – experts in resin floors, who, based on their knowledge and experience, will suggest what to pay attention to and propose a flooring solution with appropriate chemical resistance. In the case of rare, uncommon substances, it may be necessary to make additional tests on flooring samples in the laboratories.
Producers of resin floors offer solutions developed for specific conditions of use. For example, parking floors must have high chemical resistance to petrol and diesel, engine oil, radiator fluid, battery acid and other automotive fluids. They should also be resistant to sodium, potassium and calcium chlorides contained in de-icing salts, which are brought into the garage floor on car tires. On the other hand, in the case of specific floors applied in aircraft hangars, resistance to substances used in aeroplanes, such as Skydrol® hydraulic fluid, is important.
When designing resin floors for industrial facilities the production processes should be carefully analysed, in particular with regard to the chemicals used, including cleaning and maintenance agents for machines and cleaning detergents applied to wash the floors.
Flooring systems in food production plants must be resistant to food ingredients. In the bakery and confectionery industries, these include, for example, sugars and fats, in the dairy industry – lactic acid, in the fruit and vegetable processing – dyes and fruit acids, and in meat production and processing – blood, fats and other organic substances.
A separate group are chemical plants, for which technologically advanced Flowchem floors, based on vinyl ester resins, are designed. However, each time selection of a flooring system should follow an analysis of the substances with which the floor may come into contact, including the determination of their concentration, temperature and exposure time, i.e. how quickly spills will be removed from the floor surface.
Chemical resistance tests of resin floors, performed in laboratory conditions, consist in immersing the samples in specific chemical compounds. The tests last up to 365 days. The test results are given on a scale from 1 to 5, with “1” meaning the lowest resistance and “5” meaning no damage after prolonged contact.
In a situation where chemical agents may cause damage to the floor, the exposure time is of great significance. In the case of very aggressive compounds, such damage may develop in a very short time. For this reason, one should immediately take steps to neutralize the effects of the chemical substance to mitigate the risk of substrate degradation.
With the specific conditions of use of floors, it is worth asking for advice from the experts in this area who, based on their knowledge and experience, will recommend the optimum solution in terms of the required chemical resistance.