CEMEX Mexico has developed a fire- and explosion-resistant concrete specifically to safeguard the most technologically intensive and energy-efficient data processing center in the world, Proyecto Q, of the Santander Group.

The Santander Group carried out a risk analysis and concluded that its facilities were vulnerable to the effects of potential thermal radiation (fire) and overpressure (explosion) from a nearby gas station.

“Only CEMEX, through its Cement and Ready Mix Technology Center, was able to provide us with the perfect solution for this significant challenge,” said David Romero, Real Estate Director in Queretaro for the Santander Group in Mexico.

The result developed for the Santander Group is a 670-foot long and 3.6-foot thick perimeter barrier with a maximum height of 34 feet. The design is comprised of two 20- and 8-inch thick walls, separated by a 16-inch wide air chamber. CEMEX in Mexico supplied 106,000 cubic feet of a high-strength structural concrete with special raw materials that increase its fire resistance. Additionally, its durable and curable auto-compacting specifications facilitate the ecological and economic viability of the project.

In order to certify CEMEX’s specialty concrete for the project, a full-scale prototype of the wall was built at the Efectis and TNO research centers in the Netherlands. The wall was subjected to physical fire tests, withstanding a temperature of 2,102° F for more than 60 minutes, and to impact tests of a direct overpressure wave of 1.1 bars for 80 milliseconds. The success of these experiments met the demands stipulated in preliminary studies, and the performance of the wall was awarded certification from the Bureau Veritas rating company.