Durability of concrete structures : investigation, repair, by Geoffrey Mays

By Geoffrey Mays

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It should be stressed that much the greater part of the volume of concrete produced does not suffer any deterioration. e. with adequate cement content, low water-cement ratio, well compacted and cured) is relatively immune to harmful effects and is likely to be quite unaffected if water is absent. Nevertheless, a number of processes whereby concrete can become damaged exist, and these will be considered in turn. 1 Early deterioration Damage caused at an early age is perhaps not strictly ‘deterioration’, but it is relevant since cracks can provide routes for the ingress of harmful compounds, particularly those promoting corrosion of embedded metals.

It should be stressed that much the greater part of the volume of concrete produced does not suffer any deterioration. e. with adequate cement content, low water-cement ratio, well compacted and cured) is relatively immune to harmful effects and is likely to be quite unaffected if water is absent. Nevertheless, a number of processes whereby concrete can become damaged exist, and these will be considered in turn. 1 Early deterioration Damage caused at an early age is perhaps not strictly ‘deterioration’, but it is relevant since cracks can provide routes for the ingress of harmful compounds, particularly those promoting corrosion of embedded metals.

Crystalline materials lose their water at clearly defined temperatures so that, for example, calcium hydroxide loses water to give calcium oxide at a temperature of 650°C. Non-crystalline materials such as C-S-H gel lose their water over much broader temperature ranges so that, for example, C-S-H kept at 400°C for some hours may lose as much water as if it were heated to 600°C for some minutes. The dehydration of the hydrates leads to a change in structure which can lead to significant loss of strength.

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