The 1970s: Concrete Admixture MC-Special

Aug 10, 2022

In the 1960s, the young MC-Bauchemie was just one manufacturer among many offering concrete and mortar admixtures. But then the enterprising team developed a real highlight for the up-and-coming company: the concrete admixture MC-Special for the formulation of “hydrophobic barrier concrete”, i.e. concrete that is water-repellent as well as water-impermeable. The product became an MC USP – a unique selling proposition – for a long time and opened up exciting prospects for the future.

Particular areas of application for the concrete admixture MC-Special are cooling towers in power stations and especially nuclear power plants.
Particular areas of application for the concrete admixture MC-Special are cooling towers in power stations and especially nuclear power plants.
© MC-Bauchemie 2023

Although hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of concrete with the “waterproof” designation were installed annually in the Federal Republic of Germany in the mid-1960s, there was no clear distinction between its two primary usage categories, i.e. water-impermeable concrete and the more thoroughly protective water-repellent or “hydrophobic barrier” concrete, and where and how these should be applied.

A new standard courtesy of MC 

This was to change with the market launch of MC-Special. With a lot of sales and marketing effort and related articles in trade journals, MC informed customers of the advantages that water-repellent concrete offered through the incorporation of this special new admixture. Such a hydrophobic barrier is indispensable for keeping utility rooms dry in the basements of residential buildings, commercial facilities, schools, public buildings etc. But even more important is the use of water-repellent concrete in industry where it is a must if the concrete structure is exposed to a mix of moisture and aggressive media.

Water-repellent concrete in industrial construction

This applies, for example, to sewage treatment plants and harbour structures, as well as to industrial constructions exposed to aggressive atmospheres such as natural draught cooling towers. These imposing engineering structures often have a wall thickness of only 14 cm and a steel reinforcement cover of 2 cm. Yet they are under constant attack from aggressive exhaust gases (e.g. sulphurous acid) entrained by the natural draught. Precipitation moisture on the outside and cooling water running off on the inside would transport these aggressive substances into nonrepellent concrete – an acute danger for the steel reinforcement. Hence cooling towers in power plants, especially nuclear power plants, have been a particular area of application for MC-Special.

Success story in the power plant sector

The MC success story in the power plant sector gained significantly in momentum in the ensuing years. Then, in the mid-1970s, MC-Special was joined by a sister product: MC-Schutzüberzug 702, a curing agent that also offered long-term protection in one product. With this perfectly matched duo, MC established itself in the premier league of manufacturers of constructional and surface protection systems for the construction of cooling towers – not just in Germany, but worldwide.


Today, MC is considered a leader in the field of concrete technology for power plant applications, offering an enormous range of solutions for both the construction and maintenance of thermal generation facilities – from concrete admixtures and structural waterproofing systems to special protection and repair solutions.

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