Concrete Durability

Concrete  Durability

The increasing importance placed on the whole-life performance of struc-
tures means that there is a growing demand for long service lives with
minimal maintenance requirements. Furthermore, the operation of infra-
structure beyond the originally intended service life is becoming an increas-
ingly common scenario. Thus, the durability of construction materials is of
more concern to civil engineers than ever before.
Concrete is a highly durable material that is also capable of imparting
protection to steel embedded within it. However, concrete structures are
frequently required to function in a wide range of aggressive environments
for long periods of service.Moreover, measures to optimize the durability
performance of concrete structures often find themselves in conflict with
structural and aesthetic design requirements.
Over the past decade, the introduction of new U.K. and European stan-
dards has sought to readdress the issue of the durability of concrete struc-
tures in a comprehensive manner. However, negotiating the resulting body
of standards and guidance can be a daunting prospect for anyone unfamil-
iar with their content.

Among the many things manufactured by humans, the built environment
is notable in the magnitude of longevity required. Although the reader can
probably think of many functional articles that have survived for hundreds
or even thousands of years, this was, in most cases, not the intention. Such

articles are now usually no longer used but are rather kept for display pur-
poses, possibly in museums under conditions intended to preserve them.

In contrast, many structures that have survived such periods of time and,
in many cases, are still in use today. Admittedly, most of these structures
will have undergone repair and renovation and may be subject to measures
intended to preserve them. Nonetheless, the human race invests unusual
efforts in making sure that the structures we build last for periods often

exceeding the lifetimes of those designing and building them.

This book individually examines all of the major physical and chemi-
cal mechanisms that threaten the durability of concrete and addresses the
options available for achieving appropriate durability, with emphasis on the
approaches addressed by standards. It also provides a coverage of proce-
dures for durability assessment, testing of structures, and repair and reha-
bilitation methods.
This book has been written with an audience of graduate students and
young professionals in mind.

Concrete and the materials we used in combination with it are no excep-
tion. One of the main factors in the evolution of construction technologies
has been driven by the need to use materials that are capable of lasting for
long periods of time – that are durable. This is one of the reasons for con-
crete’s success – it is a strong and largely chemically inert material that can
potentially last for centuries. However, the relative immaturity of concrete
construction as a technology has meant that much of the concrete build-
ing stock has experienced unexpected problems with inadequate durabil-
ity performance within the design service life. Moreover, there has been
a growing trend among governments and the operators of structures to
extend the service life of structures for economic and practical reasons:
The emergence of unexpected durability problems has meant that the last
few decades have been a learning process for engineers involved in concrete
construction: it has been estimated that the annual cost of repair of con-

crete structures in Europe is in excess of $20 billion.

This book intends to provide an understanding of how concrete elements
in structures deteriorate, what must be done to protect structures from
unacceptably rapid deterioration, and how existing durability problems can

be identified and rectified.


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