The Statue of Unity set along the banks of the Narmada, on a riverine islandin Gujarat,is nothing short of an engineering marvel. At 182m tall, this symbolof unity was built in honour of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who had a huge hand in unifying a fractured India. It has claimed the “World’s Tallest” title from the Spring Temple Buddha in Lushan, China. Built by an army of more than 3000 engineers and workers, the statue evokes the characteristics of the Iron Man of India through two structural concrete core towers, a steel framework and an exterior bronze paneling, all rising from a star-shaped base. Everything from the latest in digital technologies to the most advanced materials were used to bring the composite structure of the Statue of Unity to life.
The statue has entered the league of iconic man-made structures,with footfalls anticipated at 15,000 tourists every single day, with its observation deck created to accommodate up to 200 visitors at a time. The floor, naturally, has to bear the brunt of heavy treading and the knocks of muddy, dusty, gritty footwear which can damage and stain it. While tiles have caught up to these heavy demands, going through years of innovation, the installation systems have largely lagged, putting such structures at the risk of extreme wear and tear.Another significant hurdle that the project threw up was that of bonding tiles to metal which was almost impossible with the products that were available in the market at the time.
Building a statue so tall, with a design that required a sheer amount of balance, made it susceptible to a range of forces. The challenge of making it resistant to wind speeds of 250 km per hour and extreme levels of heat absorption and release, while ensuring it was blast and earthquake-proof (up to 6.5 on the richter scale) was a mammoth task on its own. It warranted the use of highly durable, shock resistant,high strength products that could bond to tiles and stones effectively and withstand a range of interior and exterior conditions. Also given that it is set right beside a water body and is susceptible to climate changes, the products had to be water resistant. The project was also geared to be completed in a record time, putting undue pressure on the engineering teams and requiring products that could catch up with its fast-tracked construction pace.
Seeing as the entire project was based on state-of-the-art technology, MYK LATICRETE was chosen to consult for and provide the most suitable system for the installation of tiles and stone. The company, which has fulfilled tons of topnotch, demanding buildings and structures, such as the TCS building and the Delhi Metro among others across India and SAARC countries, had the technical prowess and the experience to address the critical needs of this mega project. MYK LATICRETE’s constant quest for impeccable quality has enabled the company to innovate tile adhesives and tile-joints that can stand the massive pressure that the statue was to be subjected to, while retaining the immaculate quality of the tiles and stones. The products that were suggested for the project included adhesives, grouts, waterproofing, and stone care.
The company zeroed in on this system after understanding the rigorous requirements of the project. Its products were used for the installation of granite and sandstone on the facade, sloping roof, and the internal flooring.
SP-100 Tile-joint: The SP-100 Tile-Joint, which has the maximum stain resistance along with the ability to secure the material from cracks, water damage, and germs was used as a filler material for the joints between the granite and the sandstone. It ensured wear and tear is minimized and the tiles are a breeze to clean.
LATICRETE® 111+73:The LATICRETE® 111 Crete Filler Powders mixed with the LATICRETE® 73 Latex Crete Admix was used to fix the granite and sand stones on the floor and wall. This formula provided for enhanced flexibility along with a stronger compression and bond strength that could aid in withstanding a host of climatic conditions.
LATICRETE® 190 SEALER:To finish off, the LATICRETE® 190, an easy-to-apply sealer was used to form an invisible water-repellent coating that could protect the granite and sand stone from the risk of staining and water absorption, while keeping its color intact.
MYK LATICRETE’s customer-focused orientation led it to collaborate with the designers, architects, and L&T (which was commissioned to build the structure), to design products that were consistent with the needs of the colossal project and could guarantee the high amount of durability that it entailed. The company deep dived into the technicalities of the application, the quality of the stone, and the goal of the project to provide a suite of innovative products. These products went through more research and testing via simulated conditions of the site to provide the final formulae required for optimal performance. The company went one step further to develop the MYK LATICRETE PUA 212 that could bond with metal as well. The SP-100 tile-joint, among the first of its kind in India, was customized in terms of color to match the tiles used in the project. All these steps ensured that the products were cost-effective, user-friendly, and seamlessly blended with the materials, aiding a smooth and speedy completion.
This masterpiece is now open to the world, drawing hoards of visitors from every corner of the globe. The use of MYK LATICRETE’s range in such elite projects serve as proof of the dynamism and the capabilities of taking on and executing the most challenging of structures.