Cemex creates blast-proof wall
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Cemex Mexico has announced the development of a fire- and explosion-resistant concrete to safeguard a banking data centre.

The company designed this solution specifically to safeguard Santander Group’s data processing centre, Proyecto Q, in Queretaro, Mexico.

When a petrol station was built 20 metres away from Proyecto Q’s façade, the Spanish bank carried out a risk analysis and concluded that its facilities were vulnerable to the effects of potential thermal radiation (fire) and overpressure (explosion). It turned to Cemex for the design and construction of a perimeter wall capable of withstanding both scenarios.

“Only Cemex, through its Cement & Ready Mix Technology Center, was able to provide us with the perfect solution for this significant challenge,” said David Romero, real estate director in Queretaro for the Santander Group in Mexico.

The result developed for the Santander Group is a 204-metre long and 1.1-metre thick perimeter barrier with a maximum height of 10.3 metres. The design comprises two 50cm- and 20cm-thick walls, separated by a 40cm-wide air chamber. Cemex in Mexico supplied 3,000m3 of a high-strength structural concrete with special raw materials that increase its fire resistance. In addition, it has been specified to be durable and self-compacting.

A full-scale prototype of the wall was built at the Efectis and TNO research centers in the Netherlands in order to certify Cemex’s specialist concrete for the project,. The wall was subjected to physical fire tests, withstanding a temperature of 1,150° C for more than 60 minutes, and to impact tests of a direct overpressure wave of 1.1 bars for 80 milliseconds. The success of these experiments met the demands stipulated in preliminary studies, and the performance of the wall was awarded certification from rating company Bureau Veritas.