Looking for a Contractor?
Looking for a Contractor?

Alchatek Blog

Polymer Soil Stabilization: Specification Guidance for Geotechnical Engineers

Posted by Colt Hullander on Sep 21, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Polymer Soil Stabilization – Specification Guidance for Geotechnical Engineers

Body - Polymer Soil Stabilization – Specification Guidance for Geotechnical EngineersUnstable soils present significant challenges in civil engineering projects. Whether caused by erosion, improper compaction, freeze-thaw action, or decay of buried organic matter, loose and shifting soils undermine structural integrity. Together, these mechanisms prevent soil from remaining firmly in place. This necessitates methods to stabilize and strengthen the matrix. Geotechnical engineers must find solutions to reinforce the substrate and restore load-bearing capacity.

Polymer injection grouting offers an innovative approach, transforming loose soil into a strong, consolidated mass. These polymeric resins permeate porous soils and compact denser soils, then expand and cure in place. The resulting soil-polymer matrix has high compressive strength, stopping subsidence, erosion, and migration of fines. Alchatek's standard soil stabilization products and deep soil stabilization products provide specification-grade stabilization.

Polymer Foam Stabilization Mechanisms

  • Permeation of loose sediments, gluing them into a firm matrix
  • Displacement of water from eroded zones, reversing further erosion
  • Filling of void spaces from decayed organics or poor compaction
  • Adhesion to soil particles creates a strong substrate

Additionally, these foams are NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 certified for contact with potable water supplies. This enables environmentally safe use.

Performance Characteristics

Polymeric foams provide exceptional soil stabilization and foundational reinforcement. Key advantages include:

  • Ability to permeate and treat loose or unstable soils in situ without excavation
  • Ability to compact dense soils such as clay
  • High compressive and shear strength, restoring structural load capacity
  • Permanent stabilization without ongoing maintenance requirements
  • Mitigation of subsidence or erosion with bonded soil matrix

When applied correctly, polymeric foams offer lasting soil stabilization and ground improvement. Alchatek case studies document successful performance for applications including commercial, industrial, new construction, and other geotechnical engineering projects.

Additional Guidance for Geotechnical Engineers

Specify these advanced soil grouting products to permanently resolve instability issues. They deliver rapid installation, minimal invasive work, and results that last. Let us provide guidance on product selection, specs, and installation techniques for your next soil stabilization project. Polymer grouting is an innovative, low-impact way to reinforce unstable ground.

For more information on geotechnical repair products...

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil, Engineer Resources, Deep Lock

5 Steps of Crack Injection – 2. Flushing Holes

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 20, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Flushing Holes

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Flushing HolesHere it is. My favorite topic. Why? Because it is my pet peeve. It separates the technicians who care from those who are only going through the motions. Quite frankly, it can be the difference between a successful outcome and dismal failure - or at the very least an expensive callback.

When you drill holes you create concrete dust. The hammer drill bit literally chews up the concrete. Most of it comes out of the hole and falls on the floor. However, a lot of dust is left behind inside the hole. If it is not properly flushed out then it will mix with your polyurethane injection resin and make a thick paste. This thick paste can be forced into the crack and prevent the clean resin from reaching deep into the crack where it is needed. Most of the time you won’t even realize you have a problem. But there it is nonetheless. Waiting for the right conditions to allow water to seep back through the crack you thought you fixed.

How do you avoid this? Simple - flush the hole out from the back using a very cheap flexible hose that attaches to your flush pump (you did bring a separate flush pump didn’t you?). Start at the highest hole and work your way down until clean water is flowing out of each hole.

Spraying water on the face of the holes may make it look clean, but it is not effective. There is still dust deep in the hole. Filling a water bottle up and squeezing it so that water shoots part way up the hole is not good enough. You have to have the water exit your hose at the back of the hole. This is the only way.

Are there exceptions? Of course, there are. If you pull the drill bit out of the hole and water gushes out behind it in a steady stream you can skip this step. Otherwise, make sure you bring a flush hose with you. It has to be small enough to fit inside your drill hole. We make it easy for you. We make one and sell it for cheap (so don’t blame us if you get to your job site and don’t have one).

This is so basic it is silly. However, I have seen experienced technicians do the water bottle trick and try to explain that it is sufficient. I’m happy to report that those guys are working for your competitors now. Just make sure your guys don’t get lulled into laziness and skip what just might be the most important of these five basic steps:

  1. Drill the hole
  2. Flush the hole
  3. Install the ports
  4. Flush the crack
  5. Inject the resin

Next up, we install the ports!

Want in-depth info on crack injection procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection

Spetec PUR GT380: Now Available in Cartridges

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Sep 19, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Spetec PUR GT380 Cartridges-1

Body - Spetec PUR GT380 Cartridges-1Reducing infiltration is paramount for healthy storm and wastewater collection systems. Management teams should consider cost-effective, eco-friendly, easy-to-use products. Ideal products simplify repairs through quick mobilization and installation while being effective and long-lasting. 

Now available in cartridges, Spetec PUR GT380 is a one-component, low-viscosity, flexible hydrophilic polyurethane gel injection resin for shutting off leaks in structures where movement may occur.

Features & Benefits

  • Easy to Use: No Pump or Hoses Required
  • Transporation-Friendly: Requires Minimal Space
  • Flexible Formula: Designed for Dynamic Joints and Pipe Penetrations
  • Made to Last: Designed a Harsh Sewer Environments
  • Can Cure to Foam or Gel Based on Water Content
  • Solvent-Free and Non-Corrosive
  • May Be Used in Underwater Applications
  • Can Accept Up To 10x Its Volume in Water
  • Can Be Used with Oakum for Wider Cracks and Joints

Packaging: 10.5 oz Cartridges - Case of 12
Item #: GT380-Inectr

Spetec PUR GT380 is highly chemically resistant and is designed for sealing active water leaks in joints in concrete structures that are exposed to harsh environments, like those found in sewer collection systems. Depending on the ratio of grout to water, Spetec PUR GT380 can form a flexible foam or a gel. 

Want more information on polyurethane leak seal products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!


Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Precision in Polyurethane Grouting: A Look at Modern Injection Equipment

Posted by Jacob Bryant on Sep 14, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Precision in Grouting A Look at Modern Injection Equipment

Body - Precision in Grouting A Look at Modern Injection EquipmentPolyurethane grouting is an essential process in construction and infrastructure projects with the need to lift structures, fill voids, and stabilize soil. While polyurethane grouting has been utilized for decades, advancements in technology and technique have enabled a new level of precision and control in modern grouting applications. Innovations in polyurethane injection methods and equipment allow design and construction teams to achieve highly accurate, consistent injections for maximum strength and longevity. 

Precision is critical in polyurethane grouting applications. Inadequate filling of voids or inconsistent distribution of grout can lead to structural instability, settlement, and even collapse. Precise injections ensure that soil is saturated, voids are filled, and slabs are leveled accurately. This provides uniform load distribution and protection against shifting, vibration, and erosion. Precision also prevents wasted materials and rework due to incorrect amounts or placement of grout. 

Modern polyurethane grouting equipment and techniques enable accurate monitoring and adjustment of grout injection rates, depths, pressures, and consistency. Some examples of modern technology include: 

  • Hydraulic and Electric Pumps: Modern polyurethane injection equipment includes hydraulic or electric pumps. These pumps provide precise control over pressure and flow, ensuring a more uniform injection of grout material.
  • High-Pressure Injection: Modern equipment can handle high-pressure injection, making it suitable for stabilizing deep structures and addressing challenging soil conditions. High-pressure injection ensures better penetration of the polyurethane grout.
  • Remote Monitoring and Data Logging: Advanced systems come with remote monitoring and data logging capabilities when necessary. Operators can monitor the injection process remotely and collect data on pressure, flow, and other parameters for quality control and documentation.
  • Compact and Portable Systems: Some advanced injection grouting systems are designed to be compact and portable, making them easier to transport to job sites and set up quickly.
  • Safety Features: Modern equipment includes safety features such as shut-off valves and pressure relief mechanisms to protect both operators and the equipment itself.

Modern polyurethane grouting equipment has revolutionized construction and infrastructure project challenges, offering engineers and design teams an array of precision-driven advantages. The evolution of polyurethane injection equipment, including hydraulic pumps, pneumatic pumps, and computerized control systems has empowered design teams and application technicians to achieve precise outcomes.

For more information...

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Fill Voids, Engineer Resources

5 Steps of Crack Injection – 1. Drilling Holes (Continued)

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 13, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Drilling Holes (Continued)

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Drilling Holes (Continued)Let’s face it, most of the structures you drill through will be full of rebar. Rebar is the steel reinforcement that gives the structure its strength. Concrete protects the rebar by shielding it from moisture, and the high pH of concrete keeps the rebar from rusting. However, once a crack forms it allows more water and environmental gasses to reach the area surrounding the rebar. Carbonation of the concrete can now occur which causes the pH to drop and the corrosion process to begin. The rust expands and takes up 15 times the volume of the un-corroded steel which causes tensile forces to work against the concrete eventually resulting in additional cracking and spalling. Hopefully, you will be called in to fix the leaks before much of this damage occurs.

Once you are on the job site, this slow process of decay does not really affect you (unless the concrete is spalling off as you drill). Your issue with the rebar is that it will stop your drill bit from penetrating the crack. The cracks will often follow the rebar, especially if there is not adequate coverage of concrete over the rebar. Shallow rebar is a huge contributing factor to cracks in concrete.

At this point, all you care about are two things. First, how do you know if you have hit rebar? Second, if you have hit it, what do you do next?

After drilling many thousands of holes, as I have over my career, I pretty much know when I have hit rebar. Here are a few things to look for:

  1. The forward progress of drilling has stopped.
  2. The sound of the drilling changes.
  3. The quantity of drilling dust is reduced.
  4. If you are not sure, put your hand out to catch some of the drilling dust coming out of the drill hole. Observe it for metal shavings.

Given enough time and effort, you can drill through rebar. However, I wouldn’t recommend this as a general practice. It takes a lot of time, weakens the structure you are trying to protect, and...have you bought a drill bit lately? Steel is expensive! Try this instead:

  1. Move further away from the crack and try again (adjust your drilling angle).
  2. Move closer to the crack and try again (adjust your drilling angle).
  3. Move parallel to the crack and try again.
  4. Move to the other side of the crack and try again.

As a last resort, drill straight into the crack. This is not the ideal situation, but if you can drill deep enough to get an injection port installed, then you might be able to successfully seal the leak. 

Now that the surface of your concrete looks like Swiss cheese, it is time to go get that bag of fast-set hydraulic cement you brought along for just this purpose. Try to patch it up before you begin injection because some of those abandoned holes are libel to have hit pay dirt. If you don’t seal them up then you will have foam or resin leaking out of the holes.

Hitting rebar is not fun and can be frustrating. The key is to expect it and try to think three-dimensionally. See if you can visualize what is going on behind the concrete. This is one of the keys to becoming a really good injection technician.

For more information...

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection

Polyurethane Grout for Leak Repair: Economic Implications for Municipalities

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Sep 12, 2023 1:30:00 PM

Banner - Polyurethane Grout for Leak Repair Economic Implications for Munic

Body - Polyurethane Grout for Leak Repair Economic Implications for MunicipInflow and Infiltration (I&I)

Inflow and infiltration (I&I) refer to the entry of groundwater and rainfall-derived water into wastewater and stormwater collection systems through defects such as cracked pipes, deteriorated manholes, faulty connections, and other openings. This excess water can overload the capacity of wastewater treatment plants and collection systems.

Inflow refers to water that enters the sewer system from direct connections such as roof drains, yard and area drains, foundation drains, surface runoff, or street wash waters. Infiltration refers to groundwater that enters the sewer system from the surrounding soil through defective pipes, pipe joints, connections, or manhole walls. Infiltration is the focus of polyurethane grouting.

Managing I&I is important for preventing sewer overflows, reducing treatment costs, and minimizing energy consumption.

Understanding the Risks: What are Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs)?

Sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) are a prevalent concern, posing significant public health threats. EPA data indicates an alarming 23,000 to 75,000 SSO incidents annually in the U.S. These overflows, laden with raw sewage, are carriers of bacteria, viruses, and other harmful entities, potentially leading to conditions ranging from mild stomach discomforts to severe diseases like cholera and hepatitis.

The Financial Implications and Opportunities

Tackling these issues often requires a significant financial commitment. The EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) has allocated hundreds of billions of dollars for diverse water infrastructure projects. Established in 1987, this initiative offers states the autonomy to address their unique water quality challenges.

A Cost-Efficient Approach to Mitigating Infiltration in Sanitary/Stormwater Systems

Here's an efficient plan employing flexible polyurethane grout that promises a robust return on investment:

  1. Assessment: Start with inspecting lift stations and manholes.
  2. Identification: Locate and prioritize significant leaks.
  3. Targeted Repair: Utilize flexible polyurethane grout for precise point repairs.

A single crew can often mitigate leaks in two standard 8' deep manholes a day. This swift mitigation can lead to substantial savings. For instance, addressing leaks in just a single day can easily amount to around $30,000 in annual savings, based on local water treatment costs. In mere months, the cost of the repair is already recouped.

For municipal managers overseeing stormwater and wastewater systems, embracing flexible polyurethane grout for leak repair is a strategic move. It's not just about ensuring infrastructure longevity, but also safeguarding public health and achieving economic efficiency.

For more information...

Download an Info-Packed Infrastructure Leak Seal and Void Fill Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection, Curtain Grouting, Municipal Resources

5 Steps of Crack Injection - 1. Drilling Holes

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 7, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Drilling Holes

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Drilling HolesI remember my first day on the job back in June of 1985. We were working nights in the subway tunnels of Atlanta, sealing leaks in the ceiling. The crew handed me a 30-pound hammer drill and told me to drill holes in the ceiling at a 45-degree angle. Sure, what the heck is a 45-degree angle? I put on a lot of muscle that summer drilling overhead and hauling 50-pound pails of resin all over the Southeastern U.S.

Drilling holes into concrete seems like a straightforward process. However, it must be done correctly or everything you do afterward is a waste of time. Often, contractors put their least experienced technician on that job because it is manual labor and can be taught quickly. But knowing a few of the basics can help a newbie drill like an expert.

First, you have to understand that the beginning of the hole is where the injection port makes its seal against up to 3,000 pounds per square inch of injection pressure. It is important that the hole stay round, especially when using hammer in type ports. That means you have to keep the drill bit in a straight line.

Why a 45-degree angle? This is the best way to intersect the crack halfway through the structure (which is your goal). For example: On a 10” thick wall, come off the crack 5”, drill at a 45-degree angle and you should hit your target. Just start with your drill bit straight into the wall, give the trigger a few bumps to make an indention in the concrete with the bit, and rotate your drill so that the angle is halfway between your starting position and the wall.

How far apart should you space your holes? It depends on the width of the crack. Tighter cracks need tighter spacing because the resin won’t travel as far. Wider cracks can have wider spacing because the resin will travel with ease. A rule of thumb is to drill your holes no farther apart than the thickness of the concrete. Drill, flush, and pump a test hole with water to get an idea of how far the resin will travel.

Be sure to pull the drill bit out every four or five inches of penetration to clean out the drilling dust. Otherwise, you are likely to bind up your drill bit, which is not fun to try to remove.

Sometimes you will have to drill straight into the crack. I always try to angle drill first, but with extremely tight cracks you may have to compromise and drill straight in. Go as deep as you can, but make sure you don’t go all the way through.

Another tip: If you stagger your holes from one side of the crack to another, be sure not to intersect a hole you already drilled. This causes all kinds of problems.

We will talk about flushing drilling dust out of your holes later, but I can’t repeat it enough. If you want a successful injection job you have to flush the drilling dust out of the holes from the back. Otherwise, the dust will form a paste that gets forced into the crack and blocks your resin from getting where it needs to be. Splashing water on the front of the hole doesn’t really help. Be sure to get a small hose to the back of the hole and flush it with clean water.

In the next article, we'll take a look at what to do when you inevitably hit the injection contractor's nemesis...rebar!

Want in-depth info on crack injection procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection

Case Study - Leveling Bridge Approach & Departure Slabs

Posted by Joel Bryant on Sep 5, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Leveling Bridge Approach & Departure Slabs

Body - Leveling Bridge Approach & Departure SlabsThe approach and departure slabs adjacent to a bridge in McKenzie County, North Dakota had settled, leading to an uneven and hazardous road surface. A geotechnical contractor was brought in to level the road surface and mitigate any further settlement. 

Powerful Polymer

The contractor selected AP Lift 475, a two-component, hydrophobic, structural lifting polymer designed for airport, highway, and railroad applications. It can be used to stabilize structures, fill voids, and lift slabs supporting tremendous loads. In addition to tremendous in situ load-bearing capacity, AP Lift 475 is also traffic-ready in less than one hour.

Painless Procedure

AP Lift 475 was injected through the approach and departure slabs to fill subterranean voids, compact the existing subgrade, and lift the settled structures. As the material was injected, the material rapidly expanded, compacting the subgrade soils. Once the subgrade was compacted and the load-bearing capacity of the soil improved, the material raised the settled slabs.

Rapid Result

The approach and departure slabs were lifted to their proper elevation and the underlying soil was improved to mitigate future settlement. This work was performed in two days. 

Want more information on geotech products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Case Study - Sealing Hairline Cracks in a Fire Protection Storage Tank

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Aug 31, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Sealing Hairline Cracks in a Fire Protection Storage Tank

Body - Sealing Hairline Cracks in a Fire Protection Storage TankA general contractor working on new luxury apartment construction in Queens, NY reached out to a local leak seal specialist after discovering hairline cracks in the base joint of a fire protection storage tank. (A fire protection storage tank stores water for use in fire suppression systems.)

Powerful Polymer

Cracks in concrete come in all widths and sizes. Some of the most difficult ones to inject are the hairline cracks. The thinnest flexible polyurethane grouts on the market are between 100cps - 200cps which makes it difficult if not impossible to get them to penetrate a hairline crack. Spetec AG200 is an acrylic-based grout and it is 18cps, or about 5-10 times thinner than the thinnest flexible polyurethane. Clearly, a thinner grout will penetrate cracks much more effectively. Spetec AG200 is almost as thin as water, but when it polymerizes it forms a flexible hydrophilic gel. This gel features 500% elongation, which may sound like overkill to some, but 500% movement in a hairline crack is not much. The ultra-low viscosity and field adjustable set time make Spetec AG200 ideal for thin and hairline cracks.

Painless Procedure

The crew followed the standard crack injection procedure:

  1. Identify crack locations.
  2. Estimate the amount of material needed.
  3. Prepare the surface of the crack.
  4. Drill injection holes at a 45-degree angle.
  5. Flush out injection holes with water to remove any debris.
  6. Insert injection ports on both sides of the crack.
  7. Inject water into each port.
  8. Start injection of material.
  9. Always grout twice.
  10. Add water again.

Spetec AG200 was successfully injected into cracks and the base joint of the firefighting water reserve tank.

Rapid Result

The defects in the tank were easily penetrated by Spetec AG200 and the job was a success. This allowed the general contractor to get back on schedule with the building construction.

Want more information on leak seal products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Crack Injection

5 Steps of Crack Injection - Overview

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Aug 29, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Overview

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - OverviewThere are five basic steps to be done when injecting a crack in concrete that is leaking water. This is crack injection 101. Learn these steps and you will be well on your way to understanding what it takes to seal a water leak in concrete with products such as Spetec PUR F400 and Spetec GT500. In future articles, we will explore every one of these steps in more detail and address the multitude of options (such as port selection, hole spacing, depth, what to do when you hit rebar, etc.) But for right now, we are going to discuss the most basic steps.

Step 1: Drill holes. Use a hammer drill to drill holes in the concrete that intersects the crack. These holes are usually drilled at a 45-degree angle to intersect the crack halfway through the structure so that the resin is forced toward the front and back of the crack.

Step 2: Flush the holes. When you drill, you create concrete dust. If you don’t flush this dust out of the holes, it will be forced into the crack during injection and may clog the crack, preventing the resin from getting where it needs to go. Put a flexible hose all the way to the back of the hole so that water flushes the dust from the back of the hole to the surface of the concrete. Flush until clean water is flowing.

Step 3: Install your injection port. The port is what seals the hole and gives the injection pump a direct connection to the crack.

Step 4: Flush the crack. Unless the water is pouring out of the crack, you will need to inject clean water through the injection port and into the crack. This serves several purposes:

  • Cleans the crack of dirt and other contaminants to allow the resin to flow freely.
  • Gives you an idea of how far and how easily the resin will flow into the crack when you start injecting the foam.
  • Helps to open areas where the resin wouldn’t otherwise flow. Water is thinner than resin and will penetrate deeper and into tighter areas.
  • Ensures the resin will have enough moisture to react with.

Step 5: Inject the resin. Always use the lowest pressure that will continuously feed resin into the crack. Slowly turn up the pressure as necessary to get the resin flowing. My rule of thumb is to keep injecting even if resin starts to flow out of the crack. As long as more resin is going in than is coming out, you are improving your chances of success. When the resin isn’t moving further along the crack, move to the next port.

Sounds simple, right? Well, it is and it isn’t, as we will discover in the next several chapters of this blog series...

Want in-depth info on crack injection procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection