December 4, 2017
PENETRON Helps Set Up Petronas R&D Center in Italy
Set to open in December 2017, the new Petronas Lubricants Global Research Center in Santena, Italy, is built on a waterproof below-grade concrete structure that features PENETRON crystalline technology to provide integral protection from high groundwater levels.
With the completion of the new 17,000 m2 global R&D Center in Santena, Petronas Lubricants International (PLI), the global lubricants manufacturing and marketing arm of Petronas, now has a global hub linking the company’s technological innovation efforts in Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America.
As with this Santena project, water table conditions at construction sites – percolating water and hydrostatic pressure – can often pose unexpected challenges for the builder already dealing with scheduling and budgetary issues. Conventional membrane solutions, a widespread technology to keep concrete structures dry, demand lengthy and complex installation procedures involving more crack inducers for waterproofing injections, with many cold joints and post injections carried out by trained specialists.
“Membranes are more established and better known than crystalline waterproofing technology,” explains Enricomaria Gastaldo Brac, Director of PENETRON Italy. “However, when Gilardi General Contracting, the project contractor at Santena, asked PENETRON Italy to come up with a better idea for their new facility, we had the ideal solution: an integral waterproofing admixture added to the concrete with self-healing capabilities.”
Technically, the main challenge for Gilardi General Contracting was to ensure that the testing areas and laboratories – with delicate equipment and fuels running under stringent test conditions at all hours of the day – remain in an absolutely stable (i.e. dry) environment. Because the local ground water level posed a potential threat to the underground concrete structures and other crucial areas, protecting them from any form of water ingress was essential.
Subsequently, PENETRON ADMIX was added to treat over 3,700 m3 (4,400 cubic yards) of concrete used for the foundation slab, retaining walls, engine-testing areas, laboratories, and underground offices. PENEBAR SW swellable waterstop was used to seal the resulting construction joints.
“Ultimately, the PENETRON team was able to save the builder time and keep to the construction schedule,” adds Enricomaria Gastaldo Brac. “Downstairs, everything is dry and solid, just as specified!”
The Petronas Lubricants Global Research Center in Santena (near Turin, Italy) is home to hundreds of scientists, researchers and product development specialists. The main focus of the Santena Center is to test and optimize the performance of fuels and lubricants for greater engine and fuel efficiency and improved sustainability. The facility boasts state-of-the art laboratories and equipment for lubricants, as well as automotive and industrial technology testing capabilities and expertise.