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Determination of the Cause's of Concrete Damage

Concrete structures viewed as a durable structure. Proper design of concrete structures along with the appropriate placing of concrete will result in durable structures. Periodic maintenance will increase the concrete structure service life.

Old structures were built using old technology. At the time of construction, the methods of construction were old. The expected service life of these structures will be less than modern structures. Therefore periodic inspection and maintenance should be conducted to ensure and increase the service life of these structures.

New concrete technology enabled the using of concrete in an extremely aggressive environment. The life of structure can be increased by developing and following a maintenance program. The maintenance of a structure is economical than taking no action. Structure in figure no:1 required expensive repairing or replacement. The preventive maintenance of the structure in figure no:1 could reduce the cost of repairing and extend the service life of the structure.

Figure 1

Reclamation and maintenance system consists of seven steps:
1. Determine the cause's of damage
2. Evaluate the extent of damage
3. Evaluate the need to repair
4. Select the repair method and material
5. Prepare the existing concrete for repair
6. Apply the repair method
7. Cure the repair properly

Determine the Cause's of Concrete Damage

The key for successful and durable repairing is the determination of the causes of concrete damage. Cause's of concrete deterioration should be eliminated or reduced to ensure a long-lasting repair. If the repair performed without investigating and eliminating or reducing deterioration cause's, the repaired structure will get damaged and deteriorate again. The effort and money spent on this repair will be lost without any improvement. Freezing and thawing weather, structural overload, cavitation, abrasion-erosion, sulfate bearing waters or soils, acids, alkali-aggregate reaction, carbonation, and corrosion of reinforcing steel are some examples of causes of damage to concrete. Design and construction defects can cause concrete damage. Also, foundation settlement, poor finishing, poor curing, and unskilled workmanship will produce a structure that significantly vulnerable to damage.

Using of right materials in the right environment will extend the service life of concrete structure significantly. The development of concrete technology provides us with a wide range of concrete products that suit the extremest environment. The choosing of correct materials will play a significant role in increasing the structure life.

The cause of concrete damage can be a result of a one-time event such as collapsing of retaining wall on a structure as a result of a waterflood. For this case, remediation of damage cause is not required because it is not occurring periodically. If the causes of concrete damage recurring. The cause of damage should be eliminated or reduced to prevent the damage of repairing area in the future. 

It is essential to distinguish between the causes of concrete damage and symptoms. For example, overloading of a concrete structure is the cause of damage. The symptom is concrete cracking. The loads on the structure should be reduced to acceptable limits. Overall structural analysis and evaluation of a structure should be performed. Reducing the loads on the structure will eliminate the cause of the damage. The repaired structure will not experience damage and deterioration again due to loads.  

Visual inspection is not sufficient to determine the cause of damage. Therefore concrete samples shall be obtained from the damaged structure. The sample will be obtained by coring. These samples will be tested for physical properties. Also, petrographic(Petrographic testing is the use of microscopes to examine samples of rock or concrete to determine their mineralogical and chemical characteristics. ) test can help in determining the cause of and extent of the damage. 

Figure 2


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