Grand opening of the Vukovar Water Tower

On October 30th, after three-and-a-half years of renovation, the Vukovar Water Tower, one of the most recognisable symbols of Vukovar’s defence in the 1991 Croatian Homeland War, was officially opened with a concert, but without public presence due to the coronavirus epidemic. The water tower contains a memorial room, a walkway, and a viewpoint. Cortec® Corporation donated funds for the reconstruction of this water tower that was almost destroyed in the 1990’s during the Croatian War of Independence.  Vukovar Water Tower is the most famous symbol of the city’s suffering during the Battle of Vukovar, but it also represents victory and new life. It was one of the most frequent targets of artillery but never collapsed.

View from the Vukovar Water Tower

For preservation of the tower, Cortec® donated its world-renowned MCI® Technology that has revolutionised methods of extending the service life of concrete structures. As part of the memorial monument project, MCI® Technology will mitigate corrosion of the reinforced concrete structural components of the water tower. Corroded surfaces of the tower have been unprotected and rusting for 29 years since the war. This resulted in substantial advancing corrosion of the damaged reinforced concrete structures. The preservation project was conducted in several phases:

  • Protection of rebar from corrosion by applying MCI® CorrVerter® to corroded areas. This fast drying, water-based primer converts rusted surfaces to a passive layer.
  • Protection of undamaged concrete surfaces with surface-applied MCI®-2020 V/O coating, designed to migrate through even the densest concrete structures and seek out the steel reinforcement bars in concrete.  
  • Application of MCI®-2006, a powder concrete admixture that protects steel reinforcing, carbon steel, galvanised steel, and other metals embedded in concrete from corrosion induced by carbonation, chloride, and atmospheric attack. When incorporated into the concrete mix, MCIs seek out and form a corrosion inhibiting protective layer on metals.
  • Protecting the brick and all concrete surfaces of the water tower from harsh weather conditions with water-based primer/topcoat MCI® Architectural Coating. This coating acts as a sealer, preventing penetration of water, chloride ingress, and carbonation into the concrete. It improves the appearance of buildings and structural elements and, when applied directly to reinforcement and/or metal, provides a source of corrosion inhibitors.
The Vukovar Water Tower in 1991

After having mechanically removed loose rust and scale, Cortec’s CorrVerter® MCI® was applied by brush directly to metal surfaces. This fast-drying, water-based primer converts rust into a hydrophobic passive layer. The coating offers a convenient, low-labour option when performing repairs on heavily corroded rebar and other metal surfaces. It penetrates and eliminates rust and protects bare metal against further rusting.

CorrVerter® works by combining a unique formulation of chelating agents with a high solids waterborne latex that has extremely low water vapor permeability. It is recommended for application to rusty or poorly prepared steel surfaces where further corrosion protection is required and where good surface preparation is difficult to achieve. After CorrVerter® dried, concrete surfaces were impregnated with MCI®-2020.  MCI® Technology is utilised worldwide for the construction and rehabilitation of the world’s most famous building structures such as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world.

Vukovar water tower under reconstruction in the Slavonija region of Croatia – the symbol of war was hit with over 600 missiles but didn’t fall

Vukovar Water Tower earned its status as a symbol of Croatian unity through the Homeland War, suffering more than 600 direct hits by the aggressors, imitating the defiance, spirit, and brave Croatian heart of all Croatian defenders, who resisted the attacks of one of the world’s leading military forces and aggressive paramilitary units, not only in Vukovar but throughout the Republic of Croatia, for whose independence and freedom they eventually fought.