Water channelling systems, whether used in public or private works, can generally involve three types of materials: concrete, polymer concrete and plastic materials. The choice of the appropriate material is very important in order to make the laying operations efficient and to obtain an optimal result also in the long run, prolonging the useful life and avoiding unpleasant operations of maintenance.
1. Comparing materials: concrete, polymer concrete and thermoplastics.
Concrete channels have the advantage of being economical, compared to other solutions on the market, as well as having a high resistance to compression. However, concrete is a very heavy material with limited resistance to the corrosive action of chemicals. As we have already noted, concrete channels are not the best choice in forecourts or service stations. If they have to be transported, concrete channels are very heavy and therefore very expensive to install, and this will significantly affect labour costs.
Polymer concrete channels
Polymer concrete channels are more expensive than the concrete ones but are lighter and easier to transport. Polymer concrete is a composite material, where the binding phase is carried out by polymers instead of traditional concrete. This material is produced by mixing sands of different grain sizes and a variety of inert materials to fill in the gaps, while using polymeric binding agents that increase the material’s strength, watertightness, hardness and lightness.
However, the polymer channel is still quite heavy to handle and the internal roughness is not among the best on the market. The channel weights around 60kg, with external dimensions of 295x260mm.
Plastic channels: HDPE or PP
Given the same performances, plastic channels offer the best balance between ease of use and costs. Although common sense may see thermoplastics as fragile or not very strong, they are actually high-performance materials. High Density Polyethylene and Polypropylene have many advantages, as they are:
- Resistant to temperature changes, heat and humidity (do not absorb water);
- They have low roughness;
- Resistant to solvents, acids and wear.
2. Easy installation of polypropylene channels.
The slightly higher initial cost is more than compensated by the savings in installation costs and extended service life. Having a higher viscosity than the above materials, plastic channels also have self-cleaning capabilities, as the extremely smooth surface prevents the formation of deposits and carries more water (flow rate) with the same internal cross-section. This has two additional advantages: saving on routine maintenance costs and on the purchase of smaller channels to achieve the same performance as concrete ones. For more information on the technical benefits of plastic channels, we highly recommend to check out our article on SABdrain polypropylene channels.