NetComposites
Advanced Engineering 2018

PURLoc Seawalls Provide Lightweight, Strong and Durable Waterfront Protection

12 February 2013

Gulf Synthetics’ PURLoc, which utilises Bayer MaterialScience’s Baydur PUL 2500 polyurethane system, has been used as a long-term solution for waterfront projects.

According to Bayer, Superstorm Sandy’s destruction was visible on the surface, yet under water the fierce storm also tore apart seawalls meant to protect the coast. In order to help protect thousands of miles of bulkheads, canals and waterfront homes from ever-more intense storms and rising tidal zones, newly constructed or re-built seawalls will need to withstand harsh marine environments, storm surges and last longer than seawalls made from traditional materials.

“Polyurethane composite sheets work and act better in a marine environment than traditional materials such as vinyl, wood, concrete and other composites,” said Mitch Wood, Owner of Gulf Synthetics, Headquartered in Cumming, Georgia, US. “With Bayer’s polyurethane and our manufacturing technique, we’re able to create a 100 percent pure polyurethane composite sheet pile section that is 30 percent stronger than any other composite sheet pile currently sold by others. Gulf is able to offer a seawall solution that will have a long life and as testing has shown, offer nearly the same strength as steel sheet pile.”

Bayer explains that seawalls built from vinyl, wood, steel and even concrete simply cannot hold up over time. Marine borers attack and eat wood, steel will rust and corrode, vinyl will degrade from ultraviolet and concrete will deteriorate over time as the rebar starts to corrode. Strict environmental laws have prohibited the use of chemically treated wood and other solvent-based paints or coatings. From a cost perspective, the shortened life cycle of seawalls built with traditional materials increases the expense associated with maintenance and replacement.

PURLoc is manufactured by the pultrusion process and Bayer claims it is the first composite sheet pile to use a special urethane injection box. This permits the injection of resin through the most-dense layers of roving and fabrics. It says that other injection systems cannot penetrate these reinforcement packages and do not achieve the wet-out necessary to meet the mechanical properties. In addition to working with traditional thermoset resins, it works best with the pure polyurethane family of resins where glass contents are much higher at 76 to 80 percent, according to Gulf Synthetics.

“Our relationship with Bayer has been great since Day One. Bayer invested its time and expertise into working with Gulf Synthetics to launch the PURLoc line,” said Wood.

According to Wood, Bayer, which played a major role with the engineering and design of composite sheet pile, started the process by conducting an ‘FEA’ study using its polyurethane resin. This helped Gulf Synthetics with its design criteria to increase the mechanical properties by using the Baydur PUL 2500 resin system.

“With five projects underway and our recently completed installation in Suriname, South America, market reaction to PurLoc has been strong and positive,” he continued.





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