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PURLoc seawalls provide lightweight, strong and durable waterfront protection

News International-French

31 Jan 2013

Superstorm Sandy’s destruction was visible on the surface, yet under water the fierce storm also tore apart seawalls meant to protect the coast.

In order to help protect thousands of miles of bulkheads, canals and waterfront homes from ever-more intense storms and rising tidal zones, newly constructed or re-built seawalls will need to withstand harsh marine environments, storm surges and last longer than seawalls made from traditional materials.

Gulf Synthetics’ PURLoc™, utilizing Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s Baydur® PUL 2500 polyurethane system, is a cost-effective and long-term solution for waterfront projects.

“Polyurethane composite sheets work and act better in a marine environment than traditional materials such as vinyl, wood, concrete and other composites,” said Mitch Wood, owner of Gulf Synthetics, headquartered in Cumming, Ga. “With Bayer’s polyurethane and our manufacturing technique, we’re able to create a 100 percent pure polyurethane composite sheet pile section that is 30 percent stronger than any other composite sheet pile currently sold by others. Gulf is able to offer a seawall solution that will have a long life and as testing has shown, offer nearly the same strength as steel sheet pile.”

Seawalls built from vinyl, wood, steel and even concrete simply cannot hold up over time. Marine borers attack and eat wood, steel will rust and corrode, vinyl will degrade from ultraviolet and concrete will deteriorate over time as the rebar starts to corrode. Strict environmental laws have prohibited the use of chemically treated wood and other solvent-based paints or coatings. From a cost perspective, the shortened life cycle of seawalls built with traditional materials increases the expense associated with maintenance and replacement.

PURLoc™ is manufactured by the pultrusion process and is the first composite sheet pile to use a special urethane injection box. This permits the injection of resin through the most-dense layers of roving and fabrics. Other injection systems cannot penetrate these reinforcement packages and do not achieve the wet-out necessary to meet the mechanical properties. In addition to working with traditional thermoset resins, it works best with the pure polyurethane family of resins where glass contents are much higher at 76 to 80 percent, according to Gulf Synthetics.

“Our relationship with Bayer has been great since Day One. Bayer invested its time and expertise into working with Gulf Synthetics to launch the PURLoc™ line,” said Wood. 

According to Wood, Bayer, which played a major role with the engineering and design of composite sheet pile, started the process by conducting an ‘FEA’ study using its polyurethane resin. This helped Gulf Synthetics with its design criteria to increase the mechanical properties by using the Baydur PUL 2500 resin system.

“With five projects underway and our recently completed installation in Suriname, South America, market reaction to PurLoc™ has been strong and positive,” he continued.

About Gulf Synthetics:
Gulf Synthetics is a manufacturer of composite sheet pile and a line of composite coatings for dock, deck and concrete resurfacing. The company was founded in 2008 and is committed to developing innovative, superior and environmentally safe maintenance solutions for the home and marine environment. All of our products offer long-lasting, maintenance-free, earth-friendly solutions. Gulf has a growing network of national and independent paint, hardware and marine dealers. Gulf Synthetics products are made in the U.S. from U.S. raw materials. The company serves clients in the U.S., Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean.

About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2011 sales of 10.8 billion euros. Bayer MaterialScience’s 2011 sales in North America were $2.9 billion.  The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.

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