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FAQ's - Efflorein® Mark 2

What are the most outstanding features of Efflorein® Mark 2? Efflorein® Mark 2 is a patented, high performance, multi-purpose concrete and mortar admixture. One of its most important uses and unique properties of this product is that when it’s added into a cement bound mix Efflorein® Mark 2 controls the occurrence of efflorescence, the unsightly white salt bloom or ‘scum’ that disfigures the surface of set concrete and mortar.

Like Roman cement, Efflorein® Mark 2 powder is designed to make all Portland cement bound materials last - to give them added structural firmness and long-term durability and assist in preventing ‘concrete cancer’. Additionally, when added ‘into the mix’ and mixed thoroughly, this product enhances many other properties of hardened Portland cement-bound building materials - particularly their watertightness.

What are ALL the features Efflorein® Mark 2 has to offer?

• Controls the occurrence of efflorescence
(white salty looking bloom often found on concrete).

• Waterproofs concrete

• Adds structural firmness to concrete

• Assists to set concrete - due to it’s water retentive properties

• Increases mechanical strengthens in concrete

• Improves colours in concrete

• Eliminates bleeding

• Controls cracking

• Allows for better workability for wet concrete including mould-ability, ease of extrusion, pumping and compaction for air bubble release, as well as screeding, floating, trowelling, shaping, finishing and other rheological characteristics of wet cement bound mixes are all positively improved.

• Reduces rebound during shotcreting (sprayed concrete) operations. Shotcrete containing Efflorein® Mark 2 has more wet adhesion and is easier to control for more uniform application than shotcreting mixes.

• Offers real resistance to concrete degrading chemicals in water (aqueous) solutions such as rainwater containing industrial pollutants and aqueous solutions of sodium chloride (common salt) such as sea water, other chlorides, sulphates, CO2 (carbonic acid) and chlorine.

How else and where else can Efflorein® Mark 2 be utilised?
It is suitable for use for non-reinforced concrete and is especially suitable for steel reinforced concrete construction. This may include structural foundations, in situ concrete floors and pavements; both formed and shotcreted concrete walls, roofs, building sections/units, beams, columns and suspended slabs, as well as architectural precast building and bridge facia panels, virtually all concrete products, wall rendering and masonry mortars plus all factory blended Portland cement and/or lime based wall, pavement, floor and roof paint dry mixes.

In addition, Efflorein® Mark 2 is suitable for improving factory prepared surface ‘hardening’ and surface colouring powder preparations for use on freshly placed screeded wet concrete as well as ready-to-use ‘powder’ mix-with-water, trowel applied wall finishes and ‘tile-like’ coatings for existing concrete pavements, cement bound tile adhesives and grouts - especially for use in below ground swimming pools and other water containment structures.

Can efflorescence harm a concrete structure?
It may. Concrete that has effloresced with white crystalline cement ‘scum’ is bad news for set concrete because it looks unattractive and is often an indication of a weak, non-watertight, permeable to liquids surface - whereas the building owner wants a watertight, high strength, hard, abrasion resistant, protective and corrosion resistant material.

When is Efflorein® Mark 2 added?
Efflorescence is an example of a problem where ‘prevention is better than cure’. Because Efflorein® Mark 2 offers a cost-effective solution to this and other problems, Australian invented and Australian-made Efflorein® Mark 2 needs to be added at concrete pre-mix stage offering excellent insurance against these potential problems.

Is Efflorein® Mark 2 easy to use?
Yes. Efflorein® Mark 2 is supplied as a free-flowing, off-white, easily dispersible powder in rapidly degradable Ability designed Concrete-Friendly® paper sacks, which contain 20kg of product.

How is it mixed?
At the pre-mixed concrete supplier’s plant, Efflorein® Mark 2 is added to prepared, freshly made, wet ‘plastic’ concrete in the transit truck mixer barrel typically using about 20% less water than normal, at the rate of 20kg (one 20kg net sack) for every four (4) cubic metres (5kg/m3).

The whole sack(s) containing the Efflorein® Mark 2 powder is/are usually added to the freshly prepared concrete mix in the transit truck’s barrel containing typical proportions of 20mm coarse aggregate followed by a thorough re-mixing of the concrete at the barrel’s mixing speed [approximately 18 revolutions per minute (RPM)] for a period of 8 minutes during which the sacks degrade and disappear - even the stitching dissolves - prior to the truck proceeding with its barrel revolving at the normal, much slower ‘agitator’ speed to the building site.

Please note that: Concrete mixes containing coarse aggregate smaller than 20mm may require longer term mixing for the sacks to degrade.

What size packaging is Efflorein® Mark 2 supplied in?
On firm advance order Efflorein® Mark 2 as well as standard 20kg net sacks may also be supplied in smaller 5kg (which for example suit a one cubic metre load of concrete) or 10kg net degradable sacks for the pre-mixed concrete supplier’s or precast manufacturer’s convenience.

What are Concrete-Friendly® paper sacks?
These are unique, Ability Designed, rapid degrading paper sacks which contain the Efflorein® Mark 2 powder. These are added without breaking their seal into the concrete mixed for (10) ten minutes. At the normal transit mixer mixing speed of 18 revolutions / minute (RPM), the sacks ‘break-up’, disappear and even the stitching dissolves during the mixing process. This rapid degradation of the fibre packaging material, ensures that for the required mixing time the Efflorein® Mark 2 powder is uniformly dispersed throughout the load of concrete, mortar or grout without causing a dust nuisance.

At what stage should Efflorein® Mark 2 powder be added?
Although not essential, the ideal sequence of addition of Efflorein® Mark 2 concrete admixture for use is in precast and most grades and classes of pre-mixed concrete is to first make the wet concrete to a 40mm slump with minimal water, then add the Concrete-Friendly® sacks containing Efflorein® Mark 2 and remix at the transit trucks barrel for 10 minutes.

Is Efflorein® Mark 2 mainly for use in large buildings and structures?
While most of the Efflorein® Mark 2 sold by Ability Building Chemicals Co or its Distributors ends up in large engineering structures and commercial or institutional buildings, it is used wherever prudent specifiers and owners want to protect their investment against water leakage and permeation.

Its benefits are considered just as valuable by a plasterer as an additive when used in an external plastering (rendering) mortar mix for a small residence or garage wall as in large volumes of concrete required for a major bridge installation.

For instance, concrete driveways in a new block of residential units may not use the same volume as a high-rise office building or large municipal swimming pool, but for each specifier or owner the rationale for use is essentially the same.

What is the dose rate for Efflorein® Mark 2?
The recommended dose rate for the use of Efflorein® Mark 2 is 1.5% +/- .5% by weight of the weight of the cement or total cementitious binder content.

When using grey Portland cement, is the colour of concrete darkened?
Yes, when the Efflorein® Mark 2 admixture is used, the colour of cement bound concrete, mortar or grout incorporating normal Portland grey cement without abilox® colouring pigments is darkened. This is because the particles of cement in water are de-agglomerated and dispersed to a greater degree for a given mixing time with less water which results in a darker colour.

If a lighter coloured grey or any other colour is required for the concrete or mortar, Ability can supply a suitable abilox® oxide powder colour - for example abilox® UV resistant Moonlight Grey oxide from our range of 60 standard abilox® oxide colouring pigments.

Does Efflorein® Mark 2 powder disperse as quickly as a liquid admixture?
Yes, but good concrete / mortar needs to be mixed well! It has been found and researched here in Australia that in a typical pre-mixed concrete transit mixer with the mixing barrel having baffles (that is, not a forced action mixer with powered moving blades), at the barrel’s mixing speed (18 RPM) it takes at least ten (10) minutes for any admixture - powder or liquid that is added to say a five (5) cubic metre batch load of concrete to completely disperse. It is incorrect to say that liquid admixtures are dispersed quicker than a particular powder type in a particular grade of concrete at a given slump or measurement of (semi) liquid consistency in a given mixing time. Most liquid admixtures are solutions like sugar in water and typically have only 40% to 60% active solids - say for example 60% solids in 40% water. Efflorein® Mark 2 is 100% active solids. A powder is the only way to make an admixture have 100% active solids.

Is Efflorein® Mark 2 expensive?
No, and because it improves concrete and mortar in so many ways as stated Efflorein® Mark 2 eliminates or substantially reduces maintenance costs and therefore is particularly cost-effective.The pre-mixed wet concrete treated with Efflorein® Mark 2 costs less to place whether by pump, skip or more traditional means.

Can I run a trial of Efflorein® Mark 2?
Yes. Ability Building Chemicals has a range of printed product data sheets and copies of comprehensive performance test reports from well-known and respected, independent Australia-based concrete testing laboratories - CRL Pty Ltd and BMRL Pty Ltd - about Efflorein® Mark 2 available on request. In addition, Ability will provide a free production size sample of Efflorein® Mark 2 powder for prospective manufacturer’s use, with recommendations for its successful use from Ability’s expert technical staff.

Is Efflorein® Mark 2 compatible with other concrete admixtures?
Yes. Efflorein® Mark 2 is compatible with just about all other admixtures used in making modern pre-mixed and precast concrete except calcium chloride (now virtually banned in Australia but sometimes still used as a set time accelerator) and other non chloride based admixtures.

Why should I avoid using chloride based admixtures?
To achieve concrete with lower shrinkage and therefore cracking and an efflorescent-free finish, it is best to avoid the use of calcium chloride and other chloride-based admixtures designed to accelerate the setting process of concrete. With the use of ‘Quicklime ‘putty’ (calcium oxide) or hydrated lime powder (calcium hydroxide) they may increase the possibility of efflorescence occurring, Efflorein® Mark 2 dose rates may need to be increased, if and when these materials are added to a masonry jointing or rendering mortar mixes to give them extra flexibility and fire retardancy.

It is advisable to seek Ability’s recommendations about using Efflorein® Mark 2 with specific admixtures.