Selecting The Best Concrete Form Release Agent
Selecting the best concrete form release agent for concrete surface, appearance, form cleaning, environmental safety, OSHA considerations, and temperature range is difficult. No two release agents produce the same concrete surface color and texture.
Oily Evaporative - Barrier Types of Concrete Form Release
Non-reactive or passive types of form release work by creating a barrier. Examples include diesel oil, heating oils, paraffin, motor oil, etc. Diesel oil evaporates and may require recoating the forms after a few days. Barrier type form oils release better when heavily applied to the form, but that increases chances for staining and bugholes. Too much oil will bead up because it is not compatible with water. It's costly to use more oil than is necessary.
Soapy, Greasy, Chemically-Active Types of Concrete Form Release
Chemically active means an active ingredient chemically combines with calcium (lime) in the cement. The active ingredient is a fatty acid dissolved in a carrier, normally petroleum or vegetable oils. Fatty acids make a good chemically active type form release agent and are derived from soybeans, flaxseed, trees, hogs, cattle, fish, etc.; very weak organic acids much different from strong mineral acids like sulfuric acid or muriatic acids. This calcium/fatty acid product metallic soap is stable and causes the form to release from the concrete. This type of concrete form release produces fewer bug-holes, stains and surface irregularities than barrier types. They can remain on the forms for weeks without reapplication. Applying in a thin film 0.0006 inches thick results in reliable removal of forms, clean forms, nearly no bugholes, stains or dusting, and saving in cost.
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