The types of concrete release agents can be broken down into three different categories. They are barrier release agents, reactive release agents, and water-based release agents. Barrier release agents create a physical film or barrier between the forming surface and concrete. Reactive release agents utilize a chemical reaction to prevent adhesion. The chemical reaction takes place between the release agent and free lines which are available in fresh concrete to create a soapy film. Water-based concrete lease agents function similarly to petroleum based agents and have become increasingly popular over the last several years.
Along with all of these benefits, water-based concrete release agents are consistently a higher quality than oil-based alternatives. It creates a clean surface, which remains the same color as the concrete, which reduces or eliminates the appearance of worm-holes. It also does not stick to the basics which makes the entire removal process easier and faster.
Another benefit of using water-based concrete release agents is that less mold release can be used when they are formulated with water. This is because the droplets hit the mold with greater mass and have a decreased evaporation rate in the air. In total, water-based agents have been proved to reduce the volume of the release agent by up to 90% (minimum of 50%).In crude form, the recommended mix rate is typically 1:3 (crude to water ratio). When all costs are considered, it can cost up to 75% less per unit than oil-based release agents.
The second reason reason water-based concrete release agents became popular initially was because they were more environmentally friendly than their petroleum-based counterparts. The first reason they are more environmentally friendly is because petroleum materials require more energy to be discovered and find whereas water is easily available and requires minimal processing.
Water-based concrete release agents are more environmentally friendly is because they require less ventilation to maintain healthy working conditions and meet government regulations. In some cases, simply filtering the air to remove particulates is sufficient for creating a healthy working environment. By minimizing ventilation requirements, water-based agents require less energy to apply safely.
Another safety benefit of water-based release agents is that they are less flammable during the application process. There is minimal, if any, risk of a spark triggering a fire. Not only does this create a safer working environment, but can also lead to lower insurance premiums.
Unlike the petroleum counterparts, water-based agents are not tied to petroleum prices. This provides manufacturers with a more stable operating cost over time. This also leads to improved engineering techniques to further reduce costs.
Another way water-based concrete release agents provide cost savings is decreased shipping costs. Since the water component is not added before shipping, distributors and contractors pay lower shipping costs because the weight is significantly less.
The final reason water-based concrete release agents are becoming more popular is because manufacturers do not need to change mold types, spray equipment, or the materials used to make parts. Regardless of how complex the mold is and what material it is made of, no changes are required. Since no new equipment is required, transitioning from petroleum-based release agents to water-based release agents is easy.