Building resilience with materials from the molecule up

SABIC’s LEXAN polycarbonate sheets are featured in the ICEhouse (i.e. Innovation for the Circular Economy)

SABIC’s LEXAN polycarbonate sheets are featured in the ICEhouse (i.e. Innovation for the Circular Economy)

This year, the concept of ‘resiliency’ in the building landscape has emerged as more than a buzzword – it’s a key priority for builders, architects and building occupants alike.

Many regions around the world are increasingly subject to the rigors of various impacts, including extreme weather, population shifts, disease, power or communication disruptions, and financial shocks. Both urban and rural spaces require structures that can withstand volatile stresses while reducing the additional resources, time, and labor needed to rebuild and relocate.

And what makes buildings resilient? Chemistry.

Using modern technology and science, chemical manufacturers today create innovative materials that can endure the stress of extreme weather such as in a hurricane or flood, and can also help a building return to a functioning, usable state. With recent extreme weather in the U.S. like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, this focus on building for resiliency will continue to grow.

To learn more about building materials and resiliency:

  • Check out the article “Chemistry and construction materials” in the September 2017 issue of Construction Specifier magazine.
  • Read how ACC members Accella, Dow, BASF and SABIC (and article contributors) are contributing to resiliency with innovative products and materials, including:
    • Dow’s XPS material ROOFMATE SL-A, which was recently used in a new visitor center at the Giant’s Causeway, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. The project displays how polystyrene chemistry can be used to create high resistance to all forms of moisture, such as rain, snow and frost.
    • SABIC’s material LEXAN™ polycarbonate sheets were used in the ICEhouse (i.e. Innovation for the Circular Economy), which took center stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. LEXAN™ sheets are 250 times more impact-resistant than glass and virtually unbreakable; they are tested to perform from −40 to 120 C (−40 to 240 F).
    • BASF’s MasterSeal NP 100 hybrid sealants were used in the restoration of New York City’s Dayton Towers, a cooperative of seven 12-story buildings in 2013. The sealants offered strong, primerless adhesion to the broadest range of substrates while the building’s renovation was interrupted during Hurricane Sandy.
    • Acella’s Bayseal® Closed-cell (CCX) spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation was recently used in the “Flex House”, a modular home built to achieve net-zero energy usage. The Flex House’s unique curved roof and closed-cell SPF insulation help increase its resiliency against weather events and flooding.

Visit to find out more about chemistry’s contributions to the built environment.

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