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Central National Bank
Inves t i gat i on of Cor ros i on Re l ated to Sarabond Mor tar
Central National Bank was WJE’s first major investigation of problems arising from the use of the Sarabond mortar additive developed by Dow Chemical
Company. Following extensive testing and analysis of Sarabond-related distress, WJE provided expert testimony on behalf of Central National Bank in a
$28 million lawsuit filed against Dow. This was the first Sarabond lawsuit that went to trial and the jury verdict against Dow provided a clear endorsement
of WJE’s contention that Sarabond promoted the corrosion of embedded reinforcing steel.
With WJE’s reputation firmly established as an expert on the performance of this mortar additive, the Central National Bank project led to
hundreds of additional Sarabond investigations over the next twenty years. Many of these assignments eventually required the development of
repair plans and specifications, which involved the full range of WJE’s materials, architectural, and structural expertise.
Notes of Interest
• Sarabond was introduced by Dow in 1965 as a mortar
additive that would produce great tensile and bond
strength and water-tightness, thus allowing factory-built
walls, easily delivered to a site and erected as single-wyth
exteriors of buildings of more than forty stories.
• Sarabond had one fatal flaw—the additive included a
chloride component, which caused corrosion of metals
embedded in the mortar and brick panels. Consequently,
building facades that used Sarabond in their construction
were susceptible to cracking and severe distress.
• Calcium chloride had been added to mortar by some
masons in the past, and Dow noted that certain trade
groups still sanctioned the practice. The Brick Institute,
however, advised against chlorides as early as 1968, notin
that the corrosion of metals was intensified by them.
• Sarabond was a laboratory cousin of SaranWrap.
. . . the first “Sarabond project”—it helped establish our reputation for being able to provide a full
scope of architectural, engineering, and materials expertise. – Jim Connolly
The father of the more than 100 buildings constructed with Sarabond mortar additive on whichWJE
worked. Information from this project was used on all of the other Sarabond projects. – Ian Chin
WJE 50 Years