The birth of an Idea: foundation sealer for water

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September 5, 2023

Since its establishment in the 13th century, the Gotthard Pass has served as a critical conduit for trade between northern and southern Europe. The original Gotthard railway, inaugurated in 1882, presented a host of challenges, notably impacting the health of passengers due to exposure to engine smoke during the 15-minute journey through the tunnel. 

Recognizing the imperative to safeguard public health, Swiss authorities undertook the task of electrifying the railway system. This initiative necessitated the complete waterproofing of the tunnel, as any water leakage could compromise the electrical infrastructure.

The imperative for waterproofing the Gotthard Tunnel was manifestly clear, presenting a critical obstacle to the Swiss ambition of facilitating electric train passage through this engineering marvel. Recognizing the gravity of this challenge, Kaspar Winkler undertook the task of devising a solution in 1910. He promptly initiated research and development efforts aimed at creating a product that would effectively address this issue.

The result was Sika-1, a rapid-setting waterproofing agent that not only revolutionized the properties of mortar but also served as a linchpin in the successful completion of the historic Gotthard Tunnel project.

The successful implementation of this innovative material enabled the electrification of the north-south axis railway which connected Europe in 1922, thereby eliminating the issue of smoke-filled passages and elevating the standard of passenger experience.

Several decades after their initial implementation, the composite materials engineered by Kaspar Winkler began to exhibit signs of deterioration, including leakage. While the prevalent industry approach was to install isolation barriers to address these issues, this method served more as a cosmetic fix rather than a lasting solution. As such, there emerged a clear need for a more sustainable and effective approach to preserving the integrity of these materials.

A Visionary is born

Once again, a visionary solution was required. Zoran Kostić, a graduate architect once again took up the challenge. Zoran developed an innovative waterproofing system that has secured patent protection within the European Union. 

The system employs a unique, one-component mineral-based gel that is injected under high-pressure conditions, in accordance with hydraulic principles. This pressurized gel effectively displaces water from compromised areas within a construction site and creates a permanent seal. 

Historical Context and Differentiation

Waterproofing technologies have come a long way since 1910, when the founder of Sika created a cement mortar admixture to act as a water barrier. Despite variations in materials and methods over the years, the essential challenge remains the same: creating effective barriers against water that stand up to the test of time.

Isolation barriers offer a number of advantages when it comes to stopping leaks in concrete structures. One of the primary strengths is their effectiveness in isolating and containing the leak, preventing water or other fluids from further infiltrating the structure.

However, isolation barriers are not without their drawbacks. One of the main weaknesses is the cost. High-quality isolation barriers, particularly those made from materials designed to resist corrosive environments, can be expensive. Additionally, while installation might be straightforward, it often requires the area to be drained and cleaned, which can interrupt the operation of the facility for an extended period. In some cases, poorly designed or improperly installed barriers can also lead to a build-up of water pressure behind the barrier, creating new structural issues.

The Technology

The use of Euras Magic Gel and traditional Isolation Barriers serve a similar end goal: to provide insulation and protection against water damage in various construction scenarios. 

However, they offer distinct advantages based on their unique properties and application methods.

Euras Magic Gel sets itself apart in several key areas, most notably in its adaptability to wet environments. Traditional isolation barriers generally require a dry setting for application, which can be a significant limitation in repair or retrofit projects where water intrusion has already occurred. In contrast, Euras Magic Gel can be applied directly into water-damaged areas, navigating through water channels to displace water and form a permanent sealing layer. This attribute allows for immediate action, reducing the time and cost associated with dewatering or drying out a site before proceeding with repairs.

Furthermore, the technology behind Euras Magic Gel is continually evolving to not just remedy the symptoms but eliminate the root causes of water damage. By applying a high-pressure, one-component mineral-based gel, it ensures a long-lasting solution, thereby setting new industry standards. 

Traditional isolation barriers may offer a temporary fix but do not necessarily address the underlying causes of water intrusion, such as cracks or gaps that may continue to evolve over time. Hence, in terms of longevity and comprehensive problem-solving, Euras Magic Gel offers a more robust and lasting solution.

While traditional Isolation Barriers have their place in construction and repair, Euras Magic Gel provides a more versatile, time-efficient, and ultimately more effective solution for combating water damage. Its ability to be applied in wet conditions, coupled with its innovative approach to root cause elimination, offers distinct advantages that are shaping new industry standards for hydro-insulating technology.

Technical Innovations

Among our proprietary products is Euras gel type 10+, developed with enhanced pH stability specifically for Deutsche Bahn. The gel underwent successful testing at the Institute for Materials in Serbia and is slated for deployment in Deutsche Bahn tunnel joints.

Environmental Safety

All Euras gel variants are predominantly inorganic and have undergone rigorous environmental impact assessments, particularly concerning their interaction with groundwater.

Future Developments

We are actively expanding our product line, including the forthcoming Euras gel type -20, formulated to withstand extreme low temperatures. It will be especially useful in shallow groundwater zones subject to freezing.

Additionally, the Euras gel product line has been vetted for use in environmentally sensitive and critical applications, including areas requiring radionuclide absorption in contaminated soil and water.

Certification and Validation

Although our system was developed as early as 2007, it was only in 2013 that we secured the necessary certifications in Germany, primarily due to the absence of corporate backing.

Closing Remarks

Euras Hydro Insulating Magic Gel not only remedies the effects but also eliminates the root causes of water damage, thereby setting a new industry standard. 

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