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CEMEX create blast-resistant concrete

Blast resistant concrete

Speciality concrete developed to safeguard Santander Group data-processing centre

CEMEX Mexico have developed a fire- and explosion-resistant concrete, specifically designed to safeguard the Santander Group’s Proyecto Q data-processing centre in Queretaro, Mexico.

When a petrol station was built 20m away from the Proyecto Q building, the Santander Group carried out a risk analysis and concluded that their facility was vulnerable to the effects of potential thermal radiation (fire) and overpressure (explosion).

As a result, the Group turned to CEMEX to design and construct of a perimeter wall capable of withstanding both scenarios.

‘Only CEMEX, through their cement and ready-mix technology center, were able to provide us with the perfect solution for this significant challenge,’ said David Romero, real estate director in Queretaro for the Santander Group in Mexico.

The result developed for the Santander Group is a 204m long by 1.1m thick perimeter barrier with a maximum height of 10.3m. The design comprises two walls (one 50cm in thickness and the other 20cm), separated by a 40cm wide air chamber.

CEMEX Mexico supplied 3,000 cubic meters of a high-strength structural concrete incorporating special raw materials to increase its fire resistance. The concrete’s durable and curable auto-compacting specifications also helped facilitate the ecological and economic viability of the project.

In order to certify CEMEX’s specialty concrete for the project, a full-scale prototype of the wall was built at the Efectis and TNO research centers in the Netherlands.

The wall was subjected to physical fire tests, withstanding a temperature of 1,150°C for more than 60 minutes, and to impact tests of a direct overpressure wave of 1.1 bars for 80 milliseconds.

The success of these experiments met all the demands stipulated in preliminary studies, and the performance of the wall was awarded certification from the Bureau Veritas rating company.

Meanwhile, CEMEX have reached an agreement in principle for the sale of certain assets in the US to Mexico-based Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC) for US$400 million.

The assets, which would be sold to a US affiliate of GCC, mainly consist of CEMEX’s cement plants in Odessa, Texas, and Lyons, Colorado; three cement terminals and the building materials business in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Closing of the transaction is subject to the signing of final binding agreements as well as to the fulfillment of various statutory conditions. Completion is expected to take place before the end of 2016.

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