ZERO-C: A Solution To Shrinkage-Induced Cement Cracking

Despite the technological advances in the science of concrete repair, shrinkage-induced cracking has long been the unsolvable problem of Portland cement-based repair materials — until now.

BASF Construction Chemicals has developed a new product called ZERO-C that aims to eliminate material cracking.

Without cracking, structures last longer and require fewer resources of time, money, material and effort, ultimately making concrete more sustainable. The factors that influence cracking in concrete repair materials are design errors, installation mistakes and material performance.

Portland cement-based products shrink as they cure and harden, causing internal stresses to develop within the material. When the accumulated stress exceeds the tensile strength of the material, or if the material is restrained, as with a typical concrete repair, the stress is relieved by cracking. ZERO-C; AZRE Magazine September/October 2010

The failure of concrete repairs weakens infrastructure, devalues buildings and increases cost.

Correcting failed repairs creates additional costs in lost time, opportunity cost and lost revenue.

Repairs cause disruption when tenants must be relocated, traffic rerouted and parking lots closed.
Failed repairs can mean lost resources — from both the original repair, as well as correcting the problem. The result: more waste in landfills, more CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and more fuel consumption in transportation.
More importantly, repairs that fail can result in weakened structures and risk of injury.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 50% of concrete repairs are unsatisfactory within the first five years. ZERO-C exceeds both the ASTM and ICRI requirements for “low cracking potential products.” It is the industry’s first product to comply with ICRI Data Sheet Protocol, fully tested at an independent laboratory.

The construction industry is witnessing an era in which science and technology focus on restoring buildings and infrastructure with advanced materials to create greater longevity at affordable costs.

For more information about BASF Construction Chemicals’ ZERO-C, visit

AZRE Magazine September/October 2010