Water is the enemy of highway structures. Water moves everything on a highway, such as deicers, salt and chemicals, into concrete pores where they cause cracks, chips, gouges and potholes. Once the network of concrete pores is compromised, the strength of the concrete crumbles.
In Indiana, many highways do not have concrete protection. In 2008, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) came to Purdue University seeking a durable and sustainable solution to this costly problem. They partnered with the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and began researching Soy Methyl Ester (SME) as an environmentally friendly, longer lasting alternative.
More than a decade later, the fruit of that research, PoreShield, is being applied to 77 bridge decks totaling 330,000 square feet within Indiana this year alone. PoreShield, a soy-based concrete durability enhancer, is the only effective solution to preserving concrete surfaces, old or new. PoreShield increases service life of concrete 5X, is safer and easier for applicators (no required PPE) and reduces costs.
PoreShield is an innovative way to enhance the durability of concrete and provide more than 10 years of protection. A new type of product, PoreShield is a cleaner alternative to petroleum-based applications and the only effective solution to preserving concrete surfaces. Utilized by highway officials to preserve pavement joints and bridge deck surfaces, PoreShield’s innovative mechanism protects these structures from premature deterioration.
As PoreShield is adopted as a solution across the state, demand for Indiana soybeans grows. There is over a half of bushel of soybeans per gallon of PoreShield. On average, PoreShield utilizes 200 bushels of soybeans per mile of two-lane bridge treatment. That’s 7.5 acres of soybeans.
The United Soybean Board (USB), which is the national soybean checkoff, supports the expanded use of this product.
“As a renewable alternative, using U.S.-grown soybean oil as a concrete durability enhancer is among one of 1,000 soy-based products currently on the market,” said John Jansen, USB Vice President of Oil Strategy. “It unlocks yet another use that drives demand for our soybeans, and with PoreShield, there’s enormous potential for roads and bridges that need these critical enhancements.”
Recently, ISA partnered with USB to create the Infrastructure Preservation program, which offers Indiana counties the opportunity to use PoreShield on their bridges. Wabash County was the first of seven counties to participate, and it already has plans to continue toward the goal of treating all bridge decks in the county. PoreShield applicators, so far, like the ease and speed of application. Application crews do not have to wear any personal protection equipment and don’t breathe noxious fumes. With the bridges being completed in one day, labor costs were half of what was budgeted for the project.
Orange County just finished its PoreShield application through ISA’s Infrastructure Preservation Program. “I’m a concrete finisher by trade and know firsthand the importance of keeping concrete sealed,” said Orange County Highway superintendent Carl Anderson. “I was impressed by the product we used to seal the bridge decks. The dry time differs quite a bit depending on the weather and how porous the deck was. I will definitely recommend this product to my fellow superintendents of other Indiana counties. Thank you for this great opportunity.”
Indiana is just the tip of the iceberg. PoreShield is ideal for states throughout the Midwest that freeze, thaw and require deicing. For coastal regions with heavy salt content, Poreshield reduces absorption of water and ion diffusion.
“Collaboration between the national soy checkoff and the Indiana Soybean Alliance made this new uses project a reality with their local connections and boots on the ground approach, and what’s neat is that it can be replicated across other states to build further momentum,” said Mark Seib, USB Director and Farmer from Poseyville, Ind.
Visit indianasoybean.com/PoreShield to learn more about PoreShield and other soybean innovations.