Demand for cement and concrete additives in the US is forecast to grow 7% annually to $4 billion in 2020. The robust growth will be due mostly to gains in concrete consumption; however, additive loadings are also rising across all markets and major product types. These and other trends are presented in Cement & Concrete AdditivesThe Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Cement and concrete additives are a primary tool for modifying the properties of concrete both in the plastic and the hardened state to enhance strength and durability. According to industry analyst Minor Cline, “Together with steel rebar reinforcement, additives enable the progression toward higher performance concrete.” More use of cement and concrete additives on a per ton basis is expected in all major markets.
Building construction will continue to be the largest market for cement and concrete additives, comprising more than half of total demand in 2020. Nearly every type of additive is used in this market due to the diversity of concrete applications. However, demand is more concentrated in the nonresidential building segment because of the higher performance standards needed for concrete used in high-rise buildings and in structures that must endure harsh industrial conditions.
Low cost supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) are used in most concrete mixes today, and they are key ingredients for specialized, technologically advanced types of concrete, including self-consolidating concrete, shotcrete, high-performance concrete, and ultra-high- performance concrete, among others. Use of these highly modified concrete mixes will continue to grow, particularly in nonresidential building applications. High-value chemical, mineral, and fiber additives are frequently used for these types of mixes, and are often available in proprietary products tailored to the application. Transportation projects in which performance is critical, such as overpasses and bridges, will provide an important outlet for such materials.