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TCL’s concrete technology to improve roads
For Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL), which participated in the Caribbean Urban Forum 2013, research and development (R&D) play a pivotal role in sustaining competitiveness.
Avaleen Mooloo, group civil engineer, said TCL has been working with soil cement stabilisation technology for the last three years. The technology is aimed at enhancing the quality of roads produced in T&T.
TCL first launched the technology at Mayo Haulage Road Soil Stabilisation Project site in December 2012.
“It is not taking away from our traditional asphalt roads; it is enhancing it, using cement as an additive.”
TCL has been working with consultant, Earth Investigations Systems Ltd (EISL), to do field and lab investigations. Already, the technology has been used in the repair of Lalbeharry Road, Debe. The technology is targeted towards companies which have the technicians and engineering capability to carry out the transfer of technology.
“The reason why we have done this technology is because the quantity and quality of aggregate coming out of our quarries aren’t up to standard.”
Asked whether TCL plans to bid for any of Government’s large projects, she said:
“We have had some discussions. The progress from our end has been phenomenal, but implementation is going to take some time, it is not just going to happen overnight. Some training has to be done as well as qualitative work needs to be done by the engineers.”
TCL has adopted the technology from Portland Cement Association (PCA), which comprises American and Canadian cement companies that pool their resources through the PCA. It conducts market research, engineering, research and other services.
“We tailored it (the soil cement stabilisation technology) to our local standards, our local soils. It is used in Latin America, in European Union and its even used in South Africa, which is very similar to us in that they must be very high-tech, low-cost technology, so they are more into optimisation and long-term solutions as opposed to quick fixes.”
TCL has been working with Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Agriculture and with industries and is ready to implement the technology locally. The use of this technology on a road means it can last up to 15 years. Already some companies in the Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation (Plipdeco) have expressed interest in the technology.
The second piece of technology which TCL’s subsidiary; Readymix has been making progress on what’s called Pervious Concrete, which can be used as a flood prevention mechanism, and is also adopted from PCA.
“In the Caribbean, no one does pervious concrete. It is a floodwater management system where it allows run off, the water is absorbed in its structure, it’s held there and then slowly releases back into your natural system.”
Mooloo, who anticipates the technology should be launched in the local market by April or May, suggested it can be used in flood-prone areas, including parts of Port-of-Spain.
“You really want to use it in areas where you have carparks, sidewalks, basements, but it is not really ideal for a road. It is a sophisticated soakaway, it stores water and then, what (the company) can do, with underground channels, it can take it directly to a pond.”
Though Mooloo could not estimate how much the research for this technology costs, she said research in concrete is not cheap.
The third piece of technology which TCL has been promoting is slip form concrete roads.
“We are saying in T&T, based on our variable soil conditions where we have highly expansive clays, there is an application for concrete roads just as you would have with any type of technology. There is the applicability of it and flexible roads cannot be used everywhere. That’s what we have been using. That’s why we have so many failures in areas prone to landslips.”
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