Interview: Advancing high-performance sustainable construction materials 

Dr Inken Beulich of Dow Europe explains how additives can improve the properties of construction materials and comments on challenges and advancements in this field.

Beulich Inken
Dr Inken Beulich
To what extent can additives enhance the properties of construction materials?
Dr Inken Beulich: When we unlock the strength of materials science, we can make construction materials more durable, longer-lasting, higher quality, easier to use, or improve the aesthetics. Paired with formulation expertise, construction additives can deliver performance in the areas that matter most to customers and end users. Furthermore, there’s a significant advantage to having proven expertise in a flexible and broad portfolio of chemistries for future-proof, reliable, and adaptable solutions. This expertise leads to better chemistry and better formulations, which are essential for the applications that our customers – and society – need.

What current challenges do you see in the field of construction chemicals?
Beulich: Since buildings and construction solutions are designed for longevity, we must work to enable the development of materials capable of addressing future challenges. This means planning today for tomorrow’s sustainably built environment, and enabling our customers to do more with less, with products that are sourced, produced, and distributed with a smaller carbon footprint. It requires anticipating the performance requirements of shifts in societal behaviour, distinct regional construction differences, and being attuned to aesthetic and architectural trends. All this demands partnership along the complex value chain to innovate and advance our materials science as well as shape industry standards.

What inroads have been made in terms of sustainable construction chemicals?
Beulich: Advancing high-performance, sustainable construction materials is the priority for our industry. We’re advancing safer chemistries that are used in applications crafted to lower environmental impact, and products and processes that bring the industry closer to circularity.We’re looking at building design that delivers resource efficiency and enables our customers to do more with less. And we’re upgrading manufacturing processes to make them more resource efficient while continuing to focus on safety.This all works together to enable a more sustainable construction industry – which will benefit both society and the planet.

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