Concrete Additives Enable Constructions of World's Tallest Building

Rising more than 800 meters to 160 stories, the Burj Dubai appears to touch the Dubai skies. On January 4, 2010, the tallest building in the world is opened. Glenium SKY concrete additives from BASF helped to achieve this new world record in altitude. The Burj Dubai comfortably exceeds the Taipeh International Financial Centre in Taiwan, which boasts a height of 509 meters and 101 stories, relegating it to second in global ranking.

Sustainable construction in the desert – Burj Dubai

With a construction period of five years, dizzying heights and extreme climate conditions, the Burj Dubai presented a very special challenge to the concrete plasticizer: With the high-performance concrete plasticizer from BASF sold under the brand name Glenium SKY it was possible to pump the concrete up to an altitude of 600 meters without interruption. The foundations and the superstructure of the Burj Dubai required approximately 180,000 m3 concrete with Glenium plasticizer. "The construction of Burj Dubai is an engineering master piece. We are proud that we could contribute to the success of this project," said Dr. Tilman Krauch, Head of Construction Chemicals division of BASF.

The concrete additives, which are based on polycarboxylate ether polymers, ensure great flowability and, during the pumping process, they are able to prevent segregation in spite of the high pressure used. On site, it was easy to process the concrete without quality loss due to Glenium SKY. In addition, Glenium SKY super-plasticizers improve the concrete's early strength. The concrete cast to build a new story quickly reaches sufficient stability so that construction work can be continued after a short while. This way, Glenium SKY helped to ensure that building work progressed quickly. With two stories built per week, the building speed exceeded the usual Dubai standard of one story a week.

Further challenges that had to be met when constructing the tallest building in the world were the climate conditions in Dubai: Here, the temperatures not only fluctuate between 10°C in winter and 50°C in summer but the temperature difference between day and night can easily reach 20°C. Glenium SKY and the expertise of the BASF team on site, however, made sure that the concrete was of a consistently high quality.

In addition, the enormous height of the Burj Dubai causes extreme pressure in the concrete structure. To prevent the skyscraper from collapsing, Glenium SKY lends the concrete a compressive strength of up to 80 N/mm2. This equals the entire weight of a small car resting on a space as small as the big toe. The great strength gives the concrete structure a long lifespan and ensures the sustainable use of the tower.

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