At the request of Mr. Rennie Coombs acting for Beadcrete Pty Ltd, the Building Research Centre undertook tests of a polymer-modified topping mortar impregnated with glass beads produced by Beadcrete with a view to investigating aspects of its serviceability when used as a lining material for concrete swimming pools. When finished, the glass beads form an exposed aggregate giving the surface a distinctive reflective appearance. Beadcrete reflective mortar is usually applied in thicknesses in the vicinity of 8-10mm.
'Blue Flash', Brisbane
In this program of work, the material was examined for its shrinkage and adhesion characteristics. The dry mortar constituents were supplied and mixed by Beadcrete before being applied by Beadcrete staff to concrete substrates supplied by the BRC. The formulation tested used a dry acrylic agent as the main modifier.
The program of testing was suggested by the BRC after discussions with Mr. Coombs. Specimen material was delivered to the BRC's Randwick laboratory where the tests were carried out from September to December of 1998. Other than the mixing and application of the mortar to substrates, the work was undertaken by BRC staff under the supervision of the author.
For a full technical explanation regarding the method of testing, please download the PDF.
|Pool surface is fully Precoated to provide a secure bond to the plastered surface and improve water proofness prior to Beadcrete application.|
|The applicators complete both the walls and floor at the deep end of the pool before moving on to the shallow end. The tent is protection from the sun drying the working area too quickly.|
|The Beadcrete finish is given a finishing trowel once the gloss on the surface has dulled off. The applicators use spiked shoes to minimise foot print dents|
|The step edges have been previously highlighted with a mosaic tile trim which is carefully plastered up to and then cleaned immediately following Beadcrete application.|
Beadcrete surface completed prior to exposing.
The Finished Pool
With Exposed surface and full of water.
Prior to the inception of Beadcrete there seemed to be a sad lack of new innovations of pool finishes within the pool industry. New technology had not been introduced into the industry over the previous 10 years, with the last innovation being pebblecrete.
The pebblecrete industry as it was, and still is, suffering from a shortage of the quality white pebble that was predominately used within the pool industry. At this time white pebble was being imported from NZ which was driving up costs and restrictions were being placed on Australian quarries for environmental reasons, and it was then decided that there must be better options.
Original thoughts were to develop a pool interior finish that would be innovative and revolutionary to the industry. Restrictions of colour with pebblecrete was the main concern so the new product had to provide a wide variety of colour choice, provide longevity, be easy to apply or require no new technology to apply, be cost effective, and be as environmentally as sound as possible.
During the development stages various quartz, stones and synthetic beads were used with minimal success. Coloured quartz, when set and exposed was to sharp and was hard to apply. Quartz became quite soft and actually broke down in a "chalky fashion" when towelled into a pool interior. Crushed natural stone was used after going through a tumbling process, but after exhaustive research this process proved to cost prohibitive due to the huge amounts of waste involved in receiving acceptable pebble, and the fact that there were not any tumblers in Australia that could process large qualities of stone at this time.
Therefore, with no significant success in the natural arena it was then time to move on to synthetic applications. Again there was extensive research into a wide variety of products. Different types of beads and pebbles were tried and tested, but in all cases various problems were encountered such as difficulty in locking the beads into place with a cementious mix, colour fade out and application problems, all of which made this a near impossible task. It was not environmentally sound to use plastic, so then came recycled glass.
This is where Beadcrete started. Over time a special process was developed to overcome the challenges of using glass. Until this time it was considered impossible to have glass adhere to a cementious (cement) mix and to hold its properties once set in the matrix. The main problems to overcome were alkalinity bleed out of the glass bead which caused discolouration and getting the glass bead to adhere to the matrix.
After four years of testing and development a very cost effective and innovative product was derived, which was later patented by Beadcrete Pty Limited. With the introduction of ochres to cement a wide variety of new colours could be introduced. The application of Beadcrete is basically no different to the application of pebblecrete, therefore no new application technology is required. Beadcrete is as solid structurally as any other product on the market. The use of recycled glass beads has produced a three dimensional environmentally friendly product which is available from our international bead manufacturer in large supply.
As a consequence of further development, it was soon discovered that the product was not restricted to surface finishes and could be used for a wide variety of applications. These have since been tried and tested within the building industry, road applications and interior design.
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