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Arizona company acquires patented, soy-based concrete protectant

Product developed through Purdue University, Indiana Soybean Alliance and INDOT collaboration.

November 21, 2023

3 Min Read

Crafco Inc., an Arizona-based supplier of packaged pavement preservation solutions, has acquired PoreShield, a patented, soy-based protectant that extends the service life of concrete.

PoreShield was created through a research collaboration among Purdue University, the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), funded by soybean checkoff dollars.

PoreShield’s key ingredient is soy methyl ester-polystyrene, or SME-PS, which is derived from U.S. soybeans. PoreShield is safe, environmentally friendly and easy to apply, requiring no additional personal protective equipment.

Indiana origins

Paul Imbrock, a member of the original research team that created PoreShield and now a technical lead at Crafco, said INDOT was experiencing premature saw-cut pavement joint deterioration.

“The saw cuts on concrete highways tend to hold water, and deicing salts often are the limiting factor in the service life of concrete pavements. Repairing just the saw-cut joints in concrete pavements is costly and requires closing to traffic or otherwise maintaining traffic patterns for the construction zone.”

Bernard Tao, professor emeritus of agricultural and biological engineering and food science, and Jason Weiss, former Purdue professor of civil engineering, had the idea to try SME-PS for preserving pavement joints. The ISA became a partner to provide material sources and aid in further research and development.

When Imbrock began in Weiss’ laboratory, SME-PS already had been working well in laboratory tests. Imbrock established field trials and further testing with INDOT.

“When I left Purdue, I started a company to license the intellectual property that was jointly held by Purdue and the ISA. The license was issued by the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization,” Imbrock said. “The road to implementation with INDOT was a long one. Ultimately, I moved to a role as a consultant for ISA helping with market development and supporting additional licensees. This is when SME-PS became PoreShield and was marketed as a product rather than a generalized technology.”

Imbrock said ISA was instrumental in bringing PoreShield into the world by continuing to support university research, as well as market development work through trade shows, conferences and direct meetings with industry and INDOT.

In 2019, INDOT applied PoreShield on sections of U.S. 24, Interstate 69 and Interstate 65. INDOT saved money and reduced labor costs compared to the products and practices it replaced. The estimates are a 20% percent savings from application on joint treatments and a 25%-35% savings from surface treatments, such as on bridges.

“You’ve invested millions in a concrete highway, it’s something you want to last for at least two decades, and PoreShield has been proven to extend the life of concrete,” Imbrock said.

State departments of transportation in Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin have conducted real-world testing of PoreShield and adopted it for use in road projects. PoreShield has been applied on patios and walkways at universities including Purdue, the sidewalks of a fire station and hundreds of residential driveways. It can be applied in other construction and architectural projects including parking lots and garages, curbing, buildings, dams and pipelines.

What they’re saying

Gary Johnson, president of Crafco, commented: “Innovation has long been a strategic imperative at Crafco, so we appreciate the extensive research and development invested in PoreShield. We are pleased to welcome this inventive product into our lineup because we believe it will become the new standard in concrete preservation.”

Lisa Zentner, vice president of specialty products at Crafco, said PoreShield represents the next generation of pavement preservation products: safer, easier to use and more effective.

“With this acquisition, Crafco is poised to enter new markets, helping reduce the burden of preserving concrete in a variety of applications. PoreShield is truly the future of concrete preservation,” she said.

Courtney Kingery, chief executive officer of Indiana Soybean Alliance, commented: “Crafco is a great partner to take PoreShield to the next level, and I can’t wait to see all they are able to accomplish. So many people had a hand in getting PoreShield to this point. Everyone should be proud of their work.”

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