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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- A new rubber construction material that vulcanizes to a flexible concrete-like substance has been developed by General Electric Company.

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    Background: NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- A new rubber construction material that vulcanizes to a flexible concrete-like substance has been developed by General Electric Company.

    The new material is made with silicone rubber and specially-treated reinforcing fillers. When applied on highways, patios and other traffic-bearing surfaces, it performs almost identically to concrete, except that it is flexible and water repellent.

    While in some ways the new material is quite similar to concrete, General Electric researchers point out these striking differences: (1) the new compound is waterproof, thus it can be employed at a topping over concrete in places where water penetration can cause damage; (2) the new material is resistant to many industrial acids that adversely affect concrete; (3), and perhaps, most significant of all, the G-E material, unlike concrete, can be trowelled on plywood and most other building materials surfaces in a thin layer where it sticks to lend an appearance similar to concrete.

    The new material is not expected to replace concrete, since it is designed to be used as a flexible coating over other materials to protect them from weather and traffic. Its normal application thickness is presently 1/8 inch per application; consequently highway pavement would not be made entirely of the material. G-E which calls the new compound, Traffic Topping, says its development had been stimulated by the need for flexible, waterproof surface coatings for bridges and other trouble areas in highways and for industrial floors and roofs where water seepage, freezing, cracking, heaving, acid attack and other damage may occur.

    However, the material is also expected to find widespread use in other areas including surfacing and repairing airport runways, swimming pool decks, sundecks, and, perhaps, someday in making crack-proof prefabricated stucco-like walls. Repair of existing concrete surface is also foreseen as a major use of the material.

    Unlike regular concrete, the new G-E compound comes premixed in a variety of standard colors including white, neutral, red, green, medium gray and dark gray. These are based on inorganic pigments with the highest resistance to fading.

    In addition to its use as a topping for other materials, it also shows promise as a flexible grout and backing for tiles and patio slate, where its resistance to stresses and moisture make it superior to present materials.

    It is now available for commercial purpose, however it will be a while before it can be available for home use.

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