In use, the hardening composition is applied to the surface of concrete, either alone, with curing compounds, or as part of a polishing process. Any residue that remains on the treated surface may simply be swept, blown, or sprayed away. This application is a continuation of U. The ' Application is a divisional of U. Claims for the benefit of priority to the Feb. Provisional Patent Application No.
The entire disclosure of each of the ' Application, the ' Application, the ' Provisional Application and the ' Provisional Application is, by this reference, incorporated herein. The present invention, in various embodiments, relates generally to chemical compositions and to methods for treating concrete, masonry, or stone, and, more specifically, to chemical compositions for hardening concrete, masonry, and stone that have a pH of less than 10, as well as to methods relating to the use of such compositions.
Calcium hydroxide is a soft, weak material. Consequently, deposits of calcium hydroxide that are present at surfaces of concrete can, over time, compromise the integrity of the concrete. Various compounds are known to be useful for reacting with calcium hydroxide to harden concrete, masonry, and stone. These compounds include silicas, silicates, siliconates, and mixtures of silicates and siliconates. Silicas, silicates, and siliconates are widely available in water-based, or aqueous, solutions. These solutions are typically alkaline, or basic, with a pH of 10 or more.
When the pH of a conventional hardening solution drops below 10 e. As a result, the particles no longer repel one another. Instead, they begin to aggregate and precipitate. Stated another way, the solution destabilizes. From the foregoing, it is apparent that conventional concrete hardeners remain stable over a relatively narrow pH range.
When conventional hardeners that have been applied to concrete, masonry, or stone surfaces puddle, they leave a hard, white residue that is difficult to remove, often requiring additional chemical treatments, scrubbing, scraping, sanding, polishing, or other labor-intensive processes. As a consequence, an undesirably significant amount of labor is often required to treat concrete, masonry, or stone with conventional hardeners.
In one aspect, the present invention includes compounds for hardening concrete, masonry, or stone. Hardening compositions that incorporate teachings of the present invention include particles that remain in solution at, or stable over, a relatively low pH e. Due to the stability of such compositions at substantially neutral pH e.
In a specific embodiment, such a hardening composition includes particles e.
The aluminum compound may be present at or on portions of the surfaces of the particles. In addition to the particles and the stabilizer, the compound may include a surfactant e. Methods for formulating low pH hardening compounds are also within the scope of the present invention. According to another aspect, the present invention includes methods for hardening concrete. Such methods may simply include application of a low pH hardening composition to fresh concrete or fully cured concrete. In some embodiments, the low pH hardening composition may be applied to a surface of the concrete just before or during polishing.
In another aspect, the present invention includes methods for cleaning a surface of concrete following the application of a hardening composition to the surface. One embodiment of such a method consists essentially of sweeping, blowing, or spraying residue of the hardening composition from the surface of the concrete to substantially remove the residue from the surface. Zhuravlev model, Colloids Surf. A , , vol. Lisichkin, G. Dorcheh, A. Ek, S. Acta , , vol. Vignati, E. Lepori, L.
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