Mortarchem: Improving Applicator Outcomes in the Field

By: Andy Odorzynski, Induron National Sales Manager

MortarchemWhen visiting field industrial painting projects, the complexity on display is truly amazing. First off, millions of dollars worth of equipment has to operate in coordination to allow work to progress. If any part in any one piece of the system fails to operate, production comes to a stop. In the field, replacement parts, tools, and mechanics can be extremely hard to come by. 

In the face of all this inherent complexity, it makes sense to look for ways to make things simpler. Yet, all too often, the coatings material suggested by paint manufacturers has the opposite effect. As coatings with more complex chemistry, narrower application tolerances, specialty application equipment, and more stringent environmental requirements are introduced to a job site, the odds of something going wrong increases rapidly. 

It often reminds of the Jeff Goldblum quote from Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” It begs the question: What is the cost of this complexity? And is it worth it? 

What is easy to do right, gets done right more often. That simple statement can save painting contractors (and everyone else) a lot of time, money, and headaches. This is why innovation is one of our core values at Induron.  We believe it’s our job to make success in the field simple. 

Mortarchem packaging

Improving Applicator Outcomes with Mortarchem

Induron developed Mortarchem with the specific goal of improving applicator outcomes in the field. Mortarchem’s development process sought to improve applicator success by easing application in multiple ways, including material properties, packaging, and equipment requirements. Today, we will focus on how the materials utilized by Induron’s chemists can make life easier in the field. 

When evaluating existing cementitious epoxy mortar technology, we found the same list of complaints across products:

  • Heavy material is difficult to trowel
  • Working times are too short
  • High material viscosity requires liberal thinning with water in the field

Induron improved each of these metrics notably with the use of two primary tools: a fantastic water-based epoxy resin and the use of ceramic sphere reinforcement. Why do these changes matter? Let’s take a look. 

Epoxy Resin

When applying Mortarchem, the material viscosity typically surprises applicators. Mortarchem is a breeze to spread around a substrate on your trowel. The material has a light, creamy texture, which makes it feel more like frosting a cake than resurfacing concrete. This allows for faster production on the trowel as well as a smooth monolithic surface for subsequent coating application. Much of this improved material flow is created by the liquid epoxy resin chosen for our formulation.

Working times are another major concern for cementitious epoxy mortars. In summer weather, applicators are often left with only minutes to wet the substrate, apply the material, and finish it with a trowel. If the trowel is not used immediately following application, other materials become too thick to work with. Mortarchem is able to retain its workability for double the time of other products on the market.

Applicators often add water to Imaterial more workable and extend its working time. While adding excessive water to an epoxy mortar will make it more workable and extend its useful working time for the applicator, this trick creates serious drawbacks. Adding too much water will cause the mortar mix to stratify such that it becomes aggregate rich at the concrete interface and epoxy rich at the surface. This can jeopardize both the adhesion of the mortar to the concrete substrate as well as the adhesion of subsequent coatings applied over the mortar. 

Choosing the correct epoxy for Mortarchem allowed us to eliminate the need to add water in the field. All in all, eliminating field modification and tight time tolerances greatly improves the applicator’s ability to create success in the field.

Ceramic Spheres

If you have spent time with our Induron team, you have likely heard us mention Ceramic Epoxy. For a generation, Induron has created unmatched epoxy performance through our unique use of ceramic spheres in the pigment package of our coatings.

In traditional epoxy lining, ceramic spheres are used to lower moisture vapor permeability and mitigate undercutting corrosion. While these attributes are not necessary in an epoxy mortar, we used our ceramic sphere pigments in Mortarchem because of their other benefits: light weight and material flow.

Our ceramic spheres are hollow and light. This allows us to create a mortar that is half the weight per gallon of its competition. This lowered weight also allows for additional film build in a single lift without slumping and sagging. Don’t underestimate the effect of material weight on a project! Each and every bucket must be moved by workers, pumped through application equipment, spread on a substrate and finished to allow for future coatings. Performing each of these steps with twice the weight has a very real impact on the production and safety of a job site. 

Again, if we can make the job easier to do correctly, it is simply more likely to be done correctly. We worked hard to put our core value of innovation into practice with the development of Mortarchem, and are excited for everyone to try it. Contact us to schedule a demonstration at your facility or job site! 


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