It's strange to think of good old rock-hard concrete as vulnerable, but anyone who deals with concrete in a tough acid environment like a hog or dairy farm will tell you it doesn't stand a chance long term. After a few years, bare concrete is usually eaten away to the point where it looks like a gravel pit more than a floor.
There are several culprits for this annoying deterioration, but the primary trouble is acid exposure.
The basic structure of concrete - while it seems tough and impervious to the naked eye - is basically porous. It's made up of sand and a variety of different rocks of various sizes that are linked together by Portland cement, which is a combination of "limestone, shells, and chalk or marl combined with shale, clay, slate, blast furnace slag, silica sand, and iron ore" according to Cement.org. When Portland cement is mixed with water to form a paste, it binds all the various additives together and forms concrete.
Because Portland cement's inherent PH balance is alkaline (typically around an 11), the bane of it's existence is acid, such as acetic acid, proprionic acid and butyric acid: all components of livestock manure.
If a concrete component hasn't been formed from a dense, low moisture mix, it begins to break down very quickly under an acid attack. But even well-laid concrete doesn't hold up long. Many acids such as lactic acid (a byproduct of bacteria which can infest silage grains) or sulfuric acid (a byproduct of anaerobic bacteria in sewage or manure pits) begin to break down the concrete binding structure almost immediately. Cement turns into a type of water-soluble calcium under acid attack and literally gets washed away, leaving only larger rocks and other debris behind. Even before reaching the point of crumbling away, concrete components which have been surface-eroded by acid often have to be replaced simply to keep things hygienic.
There are three basic ways to halt or slow this process in a highly acidic environment like a manger or livestock pen. The first is to put a protective barrier like an epoxy coating on the concrete to keep acid from reaching it. The second is to basically optimize the ingredients in the concrete mix to make it as impermeable as possible. The third is to continually wash down the surface with an acid-neutralizing agent like baking soda to try to keep acid from getting a chance to start eating the concrete.
Agri-Rok falls under a hybrid of the first and the second options: to coat the concrete and reduce permeability, which seriously cuts back the chances of an acid being able to eat away at the structure of the overlay or the concrete beneath. By making the Agri-Rok itself inherently acid-resistant as well, the whole package has succeeded very well in the goal of a quick, easy way to extend the life of a barn well beyond it's current expectancy.
And that's why we're excited about this product!
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