Questions and Answers

Questions about concrete demolition and rock breaking using BETONAMIT®

When is it expedient to use BETONAMIT® for concrete breaking and rock blasting?

Complete small breaking tasks of a few minutes effort in the conventional way. This is best done with a hammer drill or a concrete breaker machine. We also recommend using a hammer drill to complete breaking tasks on thicknesses of less that 20cm (8″). Non-explosive cracking agents pay off mainly when larger demolitions are pending. There where heavy demolition machines such as excavators and other large equipments are not available. But naturally, also if a tremor-free, silent demolition is desired or required.

How critical is ensuring the correct volume of water when processing BETONAMIT®?

Strict observation of the correct volume of water is very important when using BETONAMIT®, so as to ensure that the non-explosive cracking agent can produce the maximum pressure. It matters not if it is a concrete demolition, rock cutting or other type of rock breaking. The optimal mixing ratio is 1.0 litre of water to 5 kg of BETONAMIT® (34 oz / 11 lbs). The water content can be increased up to 1.2 litre / 5 kg (40 oz / 11 lbs) in order to achieve improved fluidity, especially for very deep boreholes, or to facilitate the mixing process.

What role does the water temperature play in the use of BETONAMIT®?

Heat accelerates the reaction time of the non-explosive cracking agent. Therefore it is very important, especially during hot temperatures, not to use warm water. To allow sufficient time for the non-explosive cracking agent to set before expansion, never use water with a temperature above 20°C (68°F). If the pressure in the borehole builds up too quickly, this can lead to a blowout (volcanic-type ejection of the material).

Are approvals required for rock splitting or concrete demolition using BETONAMIT®?

Demolition work with BETONAMIT® is permit-free. There are also no special requirements, such as demolition licenses or notifications to authorities, as are necessary when blasting with explosives. BETONAMIT® is a very safe product, but the safety regulations for demolition work with non-explosive cracking agents must be strictly adhered to. Therefore, it is important that you have completely read and understood the instructions for use and safety before you start the demolition process.

What are the hazards of demolition work with BETONAMIT®?

BETONAMIT® is non-toxic and also not classed as dangerous goods. However, BETONAMIT®, like concrete, has a very high PH value and reacts strongly with moisture. For this reason the non-explosive cracking agent should under no circumstances make contact with the eyes. Should this nonetheless occur, immediately rinse the eyes with copious amounts of water for several minutes and clean them carefully and completely. We strongly recommend a visit to an ophthalmologist after such an incident for a check-up.

Is a borehole diameter between 30 mm (1¼”) and 40 mm (1½”) an obligatory requirement?

The effective force of non-explosive cracking agent increases relative to the diameter of the borehole. We often receive inquiries as to whether cracking with a diameter of 25mm (1″) will also function. Our product is optimised for the breaking of concrete and rock with borehole diameters between 30mm (1¼”) and 40mm (1½”). However, we have on both sides, i.e. larger and smaller borehole diameters, a buffer zone where the expanding cement still works perfectly. When using smaller diameters it can however happen that concrete demolition, rock blasting or, above all, the demolition of ferroconcrete can take a few hours longer. With larger projects, such as rock excavation, drill trucks are often used for borehole diameters of approximately 45mm (1¾”). The product is certainly tested for use up to a diameter of 50mm (2″), but for these diameters we ask you to contact us in advance for every case.

Is BETONAMIT® more effective than a demolition hammer?

For certain, every demolition technique has its justification. Often, the most effective solution is also in a combination (e.g., demolition hammer + non-explosive cracking agent). There are granites with such a hardness that working solely with a demolition hammer means fighting for every inch of progress, or even that the chisel bits of the demolition hammer will be worn out very quickly. However, if the rock or rocky ground is already broken, cracked and loosened with BETONAMIT®, further work with a demolition hammer will be accelerated and facilitated many times over.

What happens when BETONAMIT® is used at below 5°C (41°F)?

When carrying out demolition tasks during the colder seasons, the following should be noted. BETONAMIT® works without problem, even if to some extent the expansion effect is delayed, down to around 0°C (32°F). However, if the temperature falls below zero degrees, the expansion process is massively slowed down. Fortunately, this absolutely does not mean the boreholes have been filled in vain and the project has failed. The non-explosive cracking agent commences with the cracking process as soon as the ambient temperature has risen again. Thus the demolition, albeit somewhat delayed, will still be effected.

What happens when BETONAMIT® is used at above 35°C (95°F)?

Caution should be exercised, because the reaction and demolition are accelerated by the heat. For demolition tasks in ambient temperatures of around 35°C (95°F) we therefore recommend using colder water, so as to slow down the reaction and pressure build-up. If you are unsure, it is important to comply with the safety regulations and never look directly into the boreholes filled with non-explosive cracking agent. This ensures that, in the very rare case of a blowout, material cannot enter into the eyes. These risks can be easily precluded by scheduling the filling of the boreholes for early in the morning.

How many boreholes need to be drilled for concrete demolition or rock cracking?

The number of holes required is variable, being dependant on the object to be demolished and, above all, on the desired degree of material disintegration. Cracking always occurs in the direction of least resistance. Since the boreholes are always the weak points, the cracks thus form in a criss-cross manner from borehole to borehole. Accordingly, you can specify the arrangement of the boreholes at the start and thus how large the fragments should be after the demolition is completed.

What are the qualitative differences between BETONAMIT® and the products from low-cost suppliers?

There are enormous differences in the quality of the various non-explosive cracking agents on the market. Of course, the most important factors are the recipe and the quality of the raw materials. A further factor is diligence in the production. Our batches are each thoroughly tested and this is done in specially developed pressure testing facilities. With these prerequisites we have been able to create a product that offers more than twice the expansion power of our competitors and is noticeably more copious. Our products comply with the requirements of the new European chemicals regulation as per REACH and GHS. Another and very important point lies in the support. We are at all times contactable and try to support our customers in the best possible way in all areas during the duration of their demolition tasks, and this through until project completion.

Where does BETONAMIT® see its main application area?

The most effective usage area for BETONAMIT® is clearly in the demolition of unreinforced concrete and rock cracking. Here, the fragments can often be removed with very little effort after demolition. A reworking with a hammer drill or pneumatic hammer is hardly necessary, if at all. As soon as noise, dust and tremors present a problem, or larger demolition machines cannot be employed for whatever reason, the deployment of BETONAMIT® should be brought under consideration. In addition, we are always happy to help develop new, project-related solutions and application techniques.

Where and how is BETONAMIT® best available?

We operate an area-wide online shop in Europe, where our concrete breaking chemicals can be ordered at any time. Thanks to our central delivery warehouse in Austria we are able to deliver very quickly and flexibly within the EU. As our head office and production are located in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are well provided for logistically anyway. Through our countless sales outlets in the specialist construction trade, building materials trade and other trade partners, BETONAMIT® is literally available, in many places, ‘just around the corner’. Every day we work to further optimise our sales network. Whether a large corporation or a private customer, you can always approach us at any time with your queries.

How do I calculate the amount needed for my demolition?

The simplest way to calculate the material requirement for planned demolition tasks is to first determine the number of boreholes needed on the basis of the desired degree of fragmentation, secondly calculate the approximate average of the required borehole depth, these figures are then multiplied with the corresponding factor for the borehole diameter being used.

Material requirement = sum of all depths of the required boreholes times the factor of the employed borehole diameter.

Borehole diameter Material requirement
30mm 1.2kg / Meter
35mm 1.6kg / Meter
40mm 2.2kg / Meter
1 ¼” 1.0 lbs / Feet
1 ½” 1.4 lbs / Feet

Is BETONAMIT® suitable for the demolition of ferroconcrete resp. for the demolition of reinforced concrete elements?

Yes, a pre-breaking of reinforced concrete makes perfect sense. After all, the demolition of reinforced concrete with a stone pick is extremely difficult. If a reinforced concrete slab or reinforced concrete generally is filled with BETONAMIT®, cracks will form over the entire object, just as with unreinforced concrete, and it will only be held together by the reinforcing steel. Subsequent chiselling out with a pneumatic hammer or hammer drill is then very easy and quickly completed.

How do non-explosive cracking agents explosive work?

BETONAMIT® was developed during the 70s by KUBATEC in Liechtenstein and was the first such product to enter the European market. The swelling effect of quick lime was already partly used by the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago to split rocks and for targeted demolition. In recent decades we have built up an enormous know-how to optimise and control this chemical process and deploy it for safe demolition. Very simply explained, the calcium oxide (quicklime) reacts to the addition of water to become calcium hydroxide, causing a multiplication of its volume. This almost unstoppable volumetric transformation is used for safe concrete demolition and breaking rock. The following further designations are often applied to BETONAMIT®: swelling pressure agent, swelling demolition agent, swelling agent, swelling explosive, expanding cement, expansion cement, expansion agent, cold explosive, cold blasting agent.