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Sheet piling interlock sealants in port construction applications

Over thousands of years, dating back to the port construction of Amathus in southern Cyprus, man has waged mostly losing battles on the effects of water infiltration on large-scale port construction projects. Until recently, many port designers seemedresigned that a certain amount of water infiltration through retaining structures was an inevitable reality.

However, recent advances in water-resistant material engineering have led to revolutionary developments in sheet piling interlock sealants. These sealants are not only leak-resistant under sustained high pressure, and a wide range of temperatures and environmental conditions, but, just as importantly, are easy and cost efficient to apply. The number of German and worldwide port construction projects that require interlock sealant to prevent hydraulic penetration has risen dramatically over the last decade. Port authorities, such as those who oversaw the construction of a combined sheet piling wall for Bremerhaven container port, increasingly demand the application of interlock sealants. This is for two main reasons:

1. The desire for protection against water infiltration, which is most important when working inside a cofferdam surrounded by water.

2. Sealants can prevent corrosion in sheet piling interlocks, because they prevent salt water and oxygen from coming into direct contact with the inner interlock.

Coatings are not suitable at this point because they cannot be applied in the interlock in full layers, and could cause slide-down stoppage of threaded interlocks. Therefore, sealants with high ad- and cohesion features are required in sheet piling interlocks, according to the displacement principle.

While there are only a few interlock sealants for port construction applications available on the market today, only one – WADIT® –combines three essential factors for a port designer: water resistance under extreme pressure and temperature fluctuations, ease of application and low cost.

WADIT is a proven sheet piling interlock sealant that can be used with all types of hot-rolled and cold-formed sheet piling interlocks in every possible environment (tropical to arctic), and is particularly useful for port construction projects. Accredited hydraulic sealant tests have demonstrated that leakage through sheet piling walls is reduced by more than 95 per cent when interlock sealants are used. Furthermore, the studies show that sealed joint sheet piling cutoff walls are anywhere from 100 to 10,000 times more effective as groundwater flow barriers than unsealed interlock walls.

This article comes from porttechnology edit released