Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Stabilizing Soil in Cold Weather

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Nov 15, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Stabilizing Soil in Cold Weather 2022

Body - Stabilizing Soil in Cold Weather 2022It's that time of year again. As temperatures drop, take a moment to review this previously posted article packed with cold-weather tips.

In this blog post, we will share some tips for stabilizing soil in cold weather. The two main points to remember are – to make sure the ground isn’t frozen and to condition your material and equipment properly.

Do Not Attempt Soil Stabilization Work When the Ground is Frozen

If you’re considering soil stabilization in cold weather, the first step is to make sure that the water table isn’t frozen. Iced earth is not permeable enough for the proper mixing of resin and soil. If you attempt to proceed with frozen soil, you’ll just be wasting your material. Best to wait it out in that case.

Properly Condition Equipment and Materials

For optimal results, it’s best to store any materials and equipment that are to be used in a heated environment overnight. It’s best to keep your AP Soil 600 above 60 degrees at all times. This is key because cold material reacts slower and gets thicker. The methods you use to condition your material on the job site will depend on the type of vehicle you’re using.

If you have an insulated rig, it should stay around 40 degrees warmer than outside temperatures. Most foam rigs have built-in electric heaters that require an extension cord to a power outlet at the job site or at your facility for overnight storage. Alternatively, you could buy an electric radiator heater. Other available heating devices include drum band heaters and heated drum mats (be careful not to scorch the polymers by turning band heaters up too high). For a more DIY approach, you could build a hot box around the material storage area in your rig.

If you’re using pails and a smaller vehicle, use an enclosed vehicle, like a box truck, enclosed trailer, or pickup truck with a camper top or bed cover. Keep as much material and equipment inside the vehicle as possible when working. Use a portable heater to maintain a warm temperature. You can also use electric pail heaters to keep your resin ready for action.

Using a combination of the methods described above, you should be able to keep your materials warm enough. In extreme cases when the material gets a bit too cold and thick, you may want to use AP Cat 600 to speed up the reaction time.

Conclusion

As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you should be able to stabilize soil in cold weather.  Just make sure your materials and equipment are conditioned properly.  If you have any further questions, please contact us at 404-618-0438.

Want in-depth info on soil stabilization products?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips

Lifting Slabs in Cold Weather

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 10, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Lifting Slabs in Cold Weather 2022

Body - Lifting Slabs in Cold Weather 2022It's that time of year again. As temperatures drop, take a moment to review this previously posted article packed with cold-weather tips.

Contrary to popular opinion, as a contractor, you don’t have to put up your equipment and rigs due to cold weather. There are many jobs to be done and many ways to keep your material conditioned. Use this season to your advantage and gain valuable business.

Cold Weather Markets

Seasonal attractions such as theme parks are a great place to start looking for winter work. Many of these parks (the ones that aren’t in Orlando) shut down for the winter and this is the time they do maintenance and repairs. Think of all the concrete lifting and leveling that can be done.

Factories can be less active in the winter months with production slowing down in many industries. This is a good time for them to do maintenance and floor repairs as well.

Warehouses typically operate year-round, so there is always work available. Warehouse floors are used and abused on a daily basis and will sooner or later need some form of repairs done to keep business running at a steady pace. In addition, many warehouses have dangerous voids beneath their floors that require repair.  

Exterior concrete slabs are still worth considering, even in cold weather. These slabs experience the most wear and tear from the environment itself (think erosion) and daily traffic. You’ll need to lift concrete slabs before the ground freezes and only after your materials have been thoroughly conditioned.

Conditioning Materials

Your slab lifting equipment probably has built-in heaters and a heated hose. Each brand and model of pump has different-sized pre-heaters and different ∆T (∆ = Delta and T = Temperature). This sounds complicated but is actually quite simple.  ∆T is simply the change in temperature.  Let’s say your material has been sitting in a cold trailer all night and the temperature has dropped to 40 degrees F. If the required temperature of your B side material is 120 degrees F, then your pump better be rated with a ∆T of at least 80 degrees. However, if your material is preconditioned to 70 degrees F, then your machine only has to be rated for a ∆T of 50 degrees. As I said, every machine is rated differently based on the size of the heaters. What is important to know is that there are limitations to how much heating your machine can do.

Keeping your materials conditioned in the winter months is a lot easier than it sounds. The main point is to keep your AP Lift products above 60 degrees at all times. Keeping the polyurethane at or above that temperature can be accomplished in a number of ways.

If you have an insulated rig, it should stay around 40 degrees warmer than outside temperatures. Most foam rigs have built-in electric heaters that require an extension cord to a power outlet at the job site or at your facility for overnight storage. Alternatively, you could buy an electric radiator heater. Other available heating devices include drum band heaters and heated drum mats (be careful not to scorch the polymers by turning band heaters up too high). For a more DIY approach, you could build a hot box around the material storage area in your rig.

Heat Sink

Another consideration when lifting cold slabs is the heat sink factor. AP Lift products come out of the gun hot and get even hotter as they react. However, cold concrete acts as a heat sink and sucks the energy out of the foam as it starts to react. This can slow down the reaction speed of the foam. If you are pumping into a void, it will have little effect because most of the foam is not in contact with the concrete. If you are trying to lift a slab with little void, it will have more of an effect because more of the foam is in contact with the cold concrete and cold soil. More volume = more energy.

Conclusion

Don’t let common preconceptions deter you from slab lifting in cold weather. As noted above, there is no need to shut down completely for the upcoming winter months if you don’t want to. Opportunities still exist and one of them may just be the job you’ve been looking for all year. There are many ways to keep your equipment and materials conditioned to efficiently work in lower temperatures. Have more questions about slab lifting in cold weather? Call us at 404-618-0438.

Want more in-depth info on slab lifting?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips

Case Study - Curtain Grouting in a Repurposed Power Plant Intake Well

Posted by David Park on Nov 8, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Curtain Grouting in a Repurposed Power Plant Intake Well

Body - Curtain Grouting in a Repurposed Power Plant Intake WelBack in the 1990s, the Seaholm Power Plan in the City of Austin, TX closed after four decades of operation. Recently, the entire area has been converted into an indoor-outdoor park and public space called the Seaholm Waterfront. All that's left standing of the original power plant is an intake building that the city decided to repurpose for public use as part of the project. Thirty feet below grade, are chambers that were originally designed to hold water from the river and pump it into the power plant to cool the machinery. The intake building renovation project hit a snag when they discovered that several thousand gallons of water were pouring into the chambers on a daily basis.

"Sealing of the intake gates was necessary in order to eliminate water from being continuously present within the building. Nine of the 10 wells have been successfully sealed off. While pumping the water out of the building, leaks were discovered in one of the wells which will require additional work by the underwater construction crew. Preventing the free-flowing entry of lake water into the building is central to the scope of this project improving the occupancy conditions by lowering humidity levels, eliminating odors and pests, and preserving the integrity of the building materials."
— Austin City Council, April 21, 2021

Initially, concrete was poured into the chambers to stop the leak. This proved to be ineffective and further complicated the job. Specialty contractors Canalco were brought in to seal the leaks via polyurethane curtain grouting, in which the technicians drill holes through concrete and inject water-activated grout on the other side, stopping the leak at its source. Technical assistance was provided by Chamberlin Waterproofing.

Powerful Polymer

The engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., specified Spetec PUR HighFoamer as the best grout to handle these high-pressure leaks. Technicians can easily adjust the set time for this material. They can speed it up for gushing leaks and slow it down to maximize coverage and penetration into the substrate for curtain grouting.

image-png-Oct-13-2022-02-01-21-11-PM

Painless Procedure

A small crew sent a confined entry certified technician deep into the well to drill 1.25" injection holes 4-7' feet through the concrete. Next, he injected Spetec PUR HighFoamer through five holes to create a grout curtain on the outside of the structure to seal off the leaks.

Rapid Result

The job was completed in just one week. The city continues to monitor the situation and the results have been spectacular given the difficulty of the job and the complications.

Want more information on curtain grouting?

Download an Info-Packed Curtain Wall Grouting Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Filling Voids Under a Driveway with AP Lift 430

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Nov 3, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Filling Voids Under a Driveway

Body - Filling Voids Under a Driveway

The ideal polyurethane foam for filling voids under a driveway, AP Lift 430 works in a variety of wet, dry, or harsh conditions, can support up to 7,200 lbs per square foot, and will cure to 90% full strength in 15 minutes. This two-component, high-strength, high-density, hydro-insensitive structural polymer weighs 2.75 – 3.25 pounds per cubic foot. When injected, polyurethane will conform to the shape of the void more accurately than other materials such as cement grout. And, unlike cement, it won't sink over time.

Watch the video below for a real-time example of polyurethane void fill with AP Lift 430. The structural stability of this driveway is under threat due to a very wide void ranging from one to two feet deep. Since the supporting soil on one side of the slab has entirely eroded away, it was possible to capture this process very clearly on video.

Watch the process closely and then call 404-618-0438 to be connected to your technical support representative for any follow-up questions. Alchemy-Spetec offers the most experienced tech support team in the industry. Contact us today for assistance on your next job!

Want more info on geotech products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil

Winterizing Your PolyBadger

Posted by Erik Prinzing on Nov 1, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Winterizing Your PolyBadger

Body - Winterizing Your PolyBadgerAs the weather gets colder, contractors in some regions will need to prepare their PolyBadger Lifting Systems for storage during the off-season. We're providing step-by-step instructions for that procedure in this article.

Prepping a PolyBadger for Winter Storage

  1. Establish power to the cabinet and heat the hose (A heater, B heater, and hose) to the target temperature of 130° F.
  2. Introduce material to the cabinet.
  3. Turn the air supply on and recirculate to heat up the ISO and resin.
  4. Once the PolyBadger is up to temperature, turn off the air supply and remove the airlines from the stick pumps.
  5. Remove the supply and the recirculation line from the A-side stick pump.
  6. Drain all the remaining material from the pump and clean it with brake cleaner.
  7. Place the stick A side stubby stick pump into a 5-gallon pail of the AS Pump Flush.
  8. Reconnect the supply line and leave the recirculation line to drain in a purge pail.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 on the B-side stick pump.
  10. Reconnect the air supply to the stick pumps, hold the return lines in a purge pail, and slowly open the air valve on the stick pumps.
  11. You will notice material slowly pushed out of the recirculation line into the purge pail. Continue to pump AP Flush 121 through the system until it comes out of the recirculation line clear, with no added color or debris.
  12. Shut the air valve supplying the stick pumps. This will stop the flow of material.
  13. Reconnect the recirculation lines to the appropriate stick pump and tighten.
  14. Turn the recirculation pump valves to supply the hose.
  15. You can remove the Handi Gun or leave it on for this stage, holding the hose in the purge pail. Turn on the supply valves on the end of the hose just before the Handi Gun. Slowly open the air valve on the stick pumps and pull the trigger on the gun.
  16. You will notice material slowly pushed out of the hose line into the purge pail. Continue to pump AP Flush 121 through the system until it comes out of the hose line clear, with no added color or debris.
  17. Shut the air valve supplying the stick pumps. This will stop the flow of material.
  18. Remove the stick pumps from the AS Pump Flush. (Make sure to mark your pails A and B for future use).
  19. Insert stick pumps into AP Pump Saver 195. (Make sure to mark your pails A and B for future use)
  20. Push the AP Pump Saver 195 through the hose line. You will notice the AS Pump Flush slowly pushed out of the hose line into the purge pail. Continue to pump AP Pump Saver 195 through the system until it comes out of the hose line clear (you will notice a thick, clean fluid).
  21. Turn off the supply valves on the hose just before the Handi Gun.
  22. Disconnect the air supply to the stick pumps.
  23. Move the hose supply valve into the recirculation position to depressurize the system.
  24. Shut off supply valves to the cabinet.
  25. Turn off heat zones.
  26. Turn off the main disconnect.
  27. Remove residual grease from interior cabinet pumps.
  28. Replace with new grease.

Want more information on the PolyBadger?

Download an Info-Packed PolyBadger System Brochure!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs

Winterizing Your Slab Lifting Rig

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Oct 27, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Winterizing Your Slab Lifting Rig

Body - Winterizing Your Slab Lifting RigAs the weather gets colder, contractors in some regions will need to prepare their slab lifting rigs for storage during the off-season. We're providing step-by-step instructions for that procedure in this article.

Please Note:

  • You will notice that more care is given to the A-side of the system, this is normal.
  • This procedure assumes you are using a PMC pump.

Prepping a Slab Lifting Rig for Winter Storage

  1. Remove and clean the A and B stick pumps. Clean the exterior of the pumps with brake cleaner to remove as much residual resin and polyol as possible.
  2. Place the A-Side transfer pump into a 5-gallon pail of the AS Pump Flush.
  3. Remove the recirculation hose from the A-Side drum and place it in a purge pail.
  4. Open A-Side inlet valve and recirculation valve on your PMC machine.
  5. Slowly open the air valve on the A-Side transfer pump to start introducing the AS Pump Flush through the A-Side of the machine.
  6. You will notice iso material being pushed out of the recirculation line into the purge pail. Continue to pump AS Pump Flush through the system until it comes out of the recirculation line clear, with no added coloring or debris.
  7. Shut the air supply feeding the transfer pump. This will stop all flow of material.
  8. Un-cap the A-Side of the PMC whip hose. Once un-capped, place the hose into the purge pail.
  9. Close the recirculation valve on the A-Side of the PMC machine.
  10. Slowly open the air valve on the A-Side transfer pump to start the flow of AS Pump Flush through the heated hose.
  11. You will notice iso material being pushed out of the whip hose into the purge pail. Continue to pump AS Pump Flush through the system until it comes out of the recirculation line clear, with no added coloring or debris.
  12. Now that this process is complete, the A-Side has been completely cleaned of any iso material.
  13. Remove the A-Side transfer pump from the pail of AS Pump Flush and place it into a 5-gallon pail of AP Lube 190.
  14. Slowly open the air valve on the A-Side transfer pump to start introducing the AP Lube 190 through the A-Side of the machine. Continue to pump the AP Lube 190 until you have pure and clean AP Lube 190 coming out of the end of the whip hose
  15. Place the B-Side stick pump into a separate 5-gallon pail of AP Lube 190.
  16. Slowly open the air valve on the B-Side transfer pump to start introducing the AP Lube 190 through the B-Side of the machine and heated hose. Continue to pump AP Lube 190 through the system until it comes out of the end of the whip hose, with no added coloring or debris.
  17. Once the entire system is full of clean AP Lube 190, slowly start to recirculate the AP Lube 190 through the entire system. When doing this, it is best to let the PMC machine cycle while recirculating the AP lube 190.
  18. Once all these steps are complete, close the air on each transfer pump and re-cap the heated PMC whip hoses.

Want more information on geotech products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs

The Deep Lock Process Explained

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 25, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - The Deep Lock Process Explained

Unstable soil deep underneath private commercial property or public infrastructure can settle causing extensive and expensive damage. Poor compaction, water erosion, broken pipes, and organic material in this deep soil can make serious settling more likely.

How can you prevent settling and get long-term protection? Introducing the Deep Lock process. Alchemy-Spetec offers a unique combination of high-quality structural polymers along with the equipment and training needed to address deep soil issues. Now you can achieve soil stabilization and compaction on large projects faster without heavy excavation equipment, extended downtime, and risk of collateral property damage.

For a detailed explanation of the process, watch the animated video below...

Want more information on the Deep Lock process?

Download an Info-Packed Deep Lock Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil, Deep Lock

Case Study - Curtain Grouting a Complex Crack in a Basement Floor

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Oct 20, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Body - Curtain Grouting a Complex Crack in a Basement Floor

Body - Curtain Grouting a Complex Crack in a Basement FloorIn Louisville, Kentucky the Presbyterian church owned two historic buildings with an alley between them. Last century, an addition was added removing the alley and connecting the two buildings. Unfortunately, the addition was not properly waterproofed during construction. This led to water below-grade infiltration and a plethora of very complex leaking cracks and joints in the basements of both buildings and the new connecting structure.

The building is still home to a Presbyterian church. For years, the administrators have been simply dealing with the water by channeling it, as best they could, to sump pumps. Many and various repair attempts have been made over the years, but none of them have been successful in the long term. Recently, the church administration reached out to BJB Restoration for help with this ongoing issue. Due to the complexity of the project, Alchemy-Spetec's Director of Technical Services - Leak Seal Division Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman was called in to consult on the job.

Powerful Polymers

The technicians chose Spetec PUR HighFoamer as the repair material for this job because its expansive nature when catalyzed with Spetec GEN ACC Accelerator makes it a very cost-effective curtain grouting polyurethane resin. This one-component, closed-cell, hydrophobic, water-reactive, solvent, and phthalate-free, low-viscosity resin is also ideal for filling any voids created by the water underneath the basement slabs.

Painless Procedures

This particular job was what we like to call exploratory grouting, focused on two trial areas of complex cracking. The crew started injecting in the area of the primary leak. As they injected, water and foam began to bubble up along an adjacent and previously unidentified trench-like defect as well as the cracking being addressed. The initial injection covered the main crack and a surrounding area of about 16 feet (thanks to the expansive nature of Spetec PUR HighFoamer). Outgassing (CO2 produced during polymerization) was visible in numerous defects outside of that radius, requiring additional injections to seal the entire area.

Rapid Results

This one-day exploratory grouting project provided the contractor with a very accurate understanding of the type of problem and soil conditions they were dealing in the basements. The contractor and church administrators subsequently agreed upon a long-term maintenance plan based on the church's budget that calls for periodic curtain grouting over the next few years to address the many remaining basement floor defects in both buildings.

Want more information on curtain grouting?

Download an Info-Packed Curtain Wall Grouting Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Soil Testing Equipment

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 18, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Soil Testing Equipment

Body - Soil Testing EquipmentSoil testing equipment is extremely helpful for planning slab lifting and soil stabilization work. Contractors use ground penetrating radar systems and dynamic cone penetrometers to get a sense of soil conditions before they drill their first hole into a slab or push their first injection pipe into the ground.

Deep Look™ Ground Penetrating Radar

The Deep Look™ wireless ground penetrating radar collects data from hundreds of thousands of pulse reflections each second to help contractors identify objects below ground. The triple-frequency antenna design provides higher-resolution imaging than conventional GRP systems.

Dynamic Cone Penetrometer

The Pagini DPM30 dynamic cone penetrometer is ideal for testing soil strength and density at various depths. The fact that it is exceptionally small means it can be used on sites that are inaccessible to normal machines. A hydraulic pump raises and drops a weight onto a measuring rod, pushing it into the ground. To measure soil strength, the operator counts the number of blows it takes to drive the steel rod in 10-centimeter increments. Good soil requires 10+ blows to drive the rod 10 centimeters. Anything less is typically indicative of weak soil conditions.

Want more info on geotech equipment and repair materials?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Deep Lift, Deep Lock

Residential Leak Seal with Polyurethane Cartridges

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 13, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Residential Leak Seal

Body - Residential Leak SealAs more property owners convert basements into living spaces, the demand for residential waterproofing increases. Some standard industry practices include using a sump pump to remove leaking water or applying hydraulic cement to the leaking side of the wall (negative side waterproofing). Neither of these is an ideal solution. Hydraulic cement is very rigid once it cures, and it cracks over time due to structural movement caused by freeze/thaw cycles and expansive surrounding soil. A home is often a family’s biggest investment, so most are looking for a cost-effective, durable, long-term repair.

Polyurethane leak seal grouts are injected into or through the wall to stop the leak at the source (positive side waterproofing). These products remain flexible after they cure, so structural shifts due to freeze/thaw cycles and expansive soils do not cause the cured grout to crack and fail. Polyurethane grouts are strong enough for use on large-scale, industrial structures. Alchemy-Spetec’s leak seal solutions are approved by the Army Corps of Engineers for use on U.S. infrastructure. These products contain no volatile organic compounds (harmful fumes) and are NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 approved for contact with drinking water.

Cartridges vs. Pumps

For small-scale residential applications, using cartridges is more cost-effective than using pails of material with a mechanical pump. The process is also less messy, saves a lot of man-hours, and allows for easy mobilization.

Products Available in Cartridges

Want more information on residential leak seal with cartridges?

Download an Info-Packed Residential Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks