Case Study: MAPEI Demonstrates Water Proofing Expertise in King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center (KAPSARC)
The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center, also known as KAPSARC, is an extremely futuristic structure, which continuously expands its crystal shape within the desert. The center is designed to give the illusion that a white oasis descended on land directly from the sky – it is inspired by the nature of a fresh leaf, which catches the sun and flourishes. The shape of the spaces, which alternate between colors, closed and modern, particularly conceived to serve the purpose of studying and researching, but also resting and meeting people in an inspiring environment. KAPSARC, launched in 2009, is a non-profit institution focused on finding solutions for the most effective and productive use of energy to enable economic and social progress in the region and across the globe. The research areas include global energy markets and economics, energy efficiency and productivity, energy and environmental technologies, and carbon management – relevant to a State such as Saudi Arabia whose activities have always been linked to extractions. However, its work aims at improving the economies of many other countries, such as China, India and East Africa. Additionally, the center employs workers from 15 different nationalities, 40% of which are women. The center includes two main areas: the first contains the IRA, while the second contains the research complex within five main buildings. A field of solar panels produces 20% of the electricity needs, with an area of 55,000 square meters and 18,000 units generating about 5,800 megawatt hours of electrical energy annually. MAPEI’S CONTRIBUTION KAPSARC stands as one of the biggest projects in Riyadh, with numerous companies wanting to be part of this major development. Mapei was chosen as the waterproofing supplier/manufacturer due to their unparalleled expertise and their competitive pricing. As a result of their old ties and joint projects history, the contractor, DEPA Saudi, was familiar and confident with Mapei’s reliable systems and products quality that delivers constant results. The project was challenging, as the building needed to provide protection from the region’s extreme heat and sun exposure. Materials needed to be placed in a manner to allow the smooth temperature transition from one space to another, including all dry and wet areas. Additionally, the building was aiming for all sustainable and energy efficient products, another reason Mapei secured the project, turning their 530,000 square meter surface into an actual footprint area of 28,500 square meters. King Abdullah’s, with its massive area, is by far the largest petroleum research center in the world. In a small example regarding Mapei’s commitment to the wet areas, 23 tons of Mapelastic AquaDefense was used, in addition to 12,700 lm of Mapeband. Mapei provided a complete waterproofing solution for the application of the wet areas & bathrooms, supplying top-performing products such as Mapeproof Swell and Mapegrout Thixotropic, primarily used to repair concrete, and Mapeband and Mapelastic AquaDefense for floor and wall waterproofing. First, Mapeproof Swell, a single component hydro-expansive paste, was applied to form flexible, waterproof seals in cracked and reinforced concrete, sealing any crack in which water can seep through. It can also be used as a bonding product, for various typed of joints in concrete walls. Then, Mapegrout Thixotropic, a shrinkage-compensated fibre-reinforced mortar, was selected to repair deteriorated areas of concrete. Mapeband, an alkali-resistant rubber tape with felt, was selected to be used in combination with the waterproofing on the center’s wet area’s floors. The solution was applied to corners between adjacent floors before applying the Mapelastic AquaDefense, Ready-to-use, ultraquick drying, flexible liquid membrane for internal and external waterproofing applications. Mapelastic AquaDefense is selected to waterproof wet areas before laying the ceramic tile finishes.