Construction and testing of the new ACC chiller plant in Austin, Texas was completed on August 1, 2020, just in time to cool classrooms and offices at the Highland Campus for the start of the fall semester. PENETRON ADMIX provided a waterproofing solution for the below-grade concrete structures.
Austin Community College (ACC) is a network of public community colleges that serves the Austin, Texas metropolitan area and surrounding communities. The new chiller plant provides additional air conditioning capacity for the current HVAC system to cool the new buildings at the ACC Highland Campus.
The $24.4 million project comprised construction of the below-grade concrete structures that house the 4,500-ton chiller plant, the cooling towers and tower platform, water pumps, air handlers, electrical equipment, fire protection equipment, thermal energy tank, controls system, and the chemical storage shed.
Looking for a Robust Waterproofing Solution
“Because the construction plans called for the chiller plant to be placed about 20-feet (6 m) below-grade, the structural engineers at JQ + Tsen in Austin asked Penetron for a robust waterproofing solution,” says Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “The high water table at the construction site was almost identical to the situation encountered with the ACC parking garage project, directly adjacent to the chiller building, with the walls of both projects now back-to-back.”
Lauren Concrete, the ready-mix supplier, treated 1,250 yd3 (955 m3) of concrete with PENETRON ADMIX SB in soluble bags for fool-proof dosing during batching.
Self-Healing Newly Formed Microcracks
Reacting with moisture and concrete minerals to form insoluble crystals within the concrete matrix, PENETRON ADMIX reduces shrinkage cracking, seals microcracks and self-heals cracks over the service life of the structure. This provides impermeable concrete an integral waterproofing solution and permanent self-healing capability. When new cracks develop throughout the lifespan of the concrete, the presence of water flowing through the cracks activates the chemical reaction that self-heals these newly formed microcracks – waterproofing those cracks without the need for repairs. PENETRON ADMIX protects concrete from deterioration, even under the constant hydrostatic pressure encountered at the Highland Campus site.
“This self-healing capability virtually eliminates the need for future maintenance of the new chiller plant structure at ACC,” adds Christopher Chen. “Once added to the mix, PENETRON ADMIX can extend the service life of concrete structures by 60 years or more.”