In January 2024, the Butantan Institute in Sâo Paulo, Brazil, completed the R$34.5 million (US$6.9 million) construction of the Center for Advanced Serum Production (Centro Avançado de Produção de Soros or CAPS). The Penetron System of concrete waterproofing products was used to ensure long-lasting protection of the below-grade concrete structures from penetration of groundwater.
Brazil’s Butantan Institute is one of the largest scientific research centers in the world. The Institute’s Center for Scientific Development (CDC) works on cutting edge research into biological systems; its activities include applied research, optimization of scientific processes, student training, and scientific publications.
Designed by Roberto Dakuzaku, an architect with Takashima Consultoria e Assessoria, the Institute’s new CAPS facility occupies 6,600 m2 (72,600 ft2) on five floors, where it carries out everything from plasma processing to vial bottling.
CAPS uses physicochemical processes to purify, formulate, and bottle the resulting hyperimmune antibodies. It manufactures 12 types of serums to supply the country’s Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde, or SUS), part of Brazil’s Ministry of Health, with antidotes against toxins from venomous animals and microorganisms. In addition, a new lyophilizer system now allows Butantan's liquid products to be dehydrated. The resulting serum powders maintain their neutralizing properties without the need for refrigeration, often a problem in many inhospitable regions of the country.
"The output from the new CAPS facility will make life-saving serums more accessible, especially for use in Brazil’s remote regions where encounters with poisonous animals are very common," adds Cláudio Neves Ourives, CEO and Managing Partner of Penetron Brazil.
Because the excavation depth of the construction site would expose the facility’s below-grade concrete structures to high hydrostatic pressure from groundwater, Penetron Brazil worked with Supermix Concretos, the ready-mix concrete supplier, to provide an optimal concrete waterproofing solution that combined both integral and topical Penetron products.
Supermix Concretos added PENETRON ADMIX SB, a crystalline concrete waterproofing admixture, to the concrete used for the foundation slab of the new CAPS facility. The construction joints between the foundation slab and the retaining walls were sealed with PENEBAR SW swellable waterstop strips. After proper preparation of the concrete surfaces of the retaining walls, PENECRETE MORTAR, a crystalline waterproofing repair grout, was used to fill any gaps and to repair any cracks (wider than 0.5mm) in the concrete walls. PENETRON, a crystalline waterproofing material, was then topically applied to the finished walls to permanently protect the whole structure.
The Penetron System of crystalline products reacts to moisture and minerals in concrete to form insoluble crystals throughout the capillaries, pores, and microcracks in the concrete matrix. This reduces long-term drying shrinkage cracking, self-heals and seals microcracks and enhances impermeability of the treated concrete.
“When new microcracks 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,” adds Cláudio Neves Ourives. “This self-healing capability virtually eliminates the need for any future waterproofing-related maintenance of the new Center for Advanced Serum Production.”