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Durability is the ability to last a long

time without significant deterioration

Factors Related to Concrete
1. concrete cracks
2. High Humidity and Rain
3. Freezing and Thawing
4. Carbonation
5. Sulfate Attack
6. Acids attack
7. Seawater Exposure
8. Chloride and Steel Corrosion
9. Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR)

concrete cracks
Concrete, like most materials, will shrink
slightly when it dries out. Common
shrinkage is about 1/16th of an inch in a
10-foot length of concrete. The reason
contractors place joints in concrete
pavements and floors is to allow the
concrete to crack in a neat, straight line
at the joint, where concrete cracks due to
shrinkage are expected to occur. Control
or construction joints are also placed in
concrete walls and other structures

High Humidity and Rain:high humidity only

dont affect on concrete durability but with carbon
dioxide or another acid content will induce
concrete erosion or/and RFT corrosion

Freezing and
Thawing:The most
potentially destructive
weathering factor is
freezing and thawing while
the concrete is wet,
particularly in the presence
of deicing chemicals.
Deterioration is caused by
the freezing of water and
subsequent expansion in
the paste, the aggregate
particles, or both.

Carbonation by Contact with Water

Waters with a pH greater than 6.5 may be
aggressive if they contain bicarbonates,
also contains free carbon dioxide. Water
with this aggressive carbon dioxide acts
by acid reaction and can attack concrete.

soil or water can attack and destroy a

concrete that is not properly designed.
Sewage and sea water both contain
dangerous amounts of sulfate will penetrate
hardened concrete and attack it by
converting calcium aluminates C3A and
sulphoaluminates into calcium
sulphoaluminates. The effect on the
concrete is expansion which tears the
concrete apart.

Sulfate attack is more severe at locations

where the concrete is exposed to wetting
and drying cycles, than continuously wet

Sulphates in the environment:

sulphates can arise from two main sources
in the environment seawater and soil and

Microscopic view of sulphate attack

Acids attack concrete by dissolving both

hydrated and unhydrated cement compounds
as well as calcareous aggregate. In most
cases, the chemical reaction forms watersoluble calcium compounds, which are then
leached away. Siliceous aggregates are
resistant to most acids and other chemicals
and are sometimes specified to improve the
chemical resistance of concrete
Concrete deterioration increases as the
pH of the acid decreases from 6.5. In fact, no
hydraulic cement concrete, regardless of its
composition, will hold up for long if exposed
to a solution with a pH of 3 or lower. To
protect concrete from such severely acidic
environments, surface treatments are often

Fig. 2: Concrete surfaces with

different depths of erosion

There are essentially three ways

to improve concretes resistance
to acids
1. choosing the right concrete composition
to make it as impermeable as possible
2. isolating it from the environment by using
a suitable coating
3. modifying the environment to make it
less aggressive to the concrete.

Seawater Exposure: Concrete has been

used in seawater exposures for decades with
excellent performance. However, special
care in mix design and material selection is
necessary for these severe environments. A
structure exposed to seawater is most
vulnerable in the tidal or splash zone where
there are repeated cycles of wetting and
drying. Sulfates and chlorides in seawater
require the use of low permeability concrete
to minimize steel corrosion and sulfate
attack. A cement resistant to sulfate
exposure is helpful. Proper concrete cover
over reinforcing steel must be adequate, and

Chloride Resistance and Steel

Chlorides present in plain concrete (that
which does not contain reinforcing steel)
is generally not a durability concern. In
reinforced, the paste protects embedded
steel from corrosion through its highly
alkaline nature. The high pH environment
in concrete (usually (greater than 12.5)
causes a passive protective oxide film to
form on steel. However, the presence of
chloride ions from deicers or seawater can
destroy or penetrate the film. Once the
chloride corrosion threshold is reached, an
electrochemical current is formed along
the steel or between steel bars and the

The resistance of concrete to chloride

is good; however, for severe environments
such as bridge decks, it can be increased by
using a low water-cementitious ratio (about
0.40), at least seven days of moist curing,
and supplementary cementitious materials
such as silica fume, to reduce permeability.
Increasing the concrete cover over the steel
also helps slow down the migration of
chlorides. Other methods of reducing steel
corrosion include the use of corrosion
inhibiting admixtures, epoxy-coated
reinforcing steel, surface treatments,
concrete overlays, and cathodic protection.

Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR):Alkali-Silica

Reaction (ASR)is an expansion reaction
between certain forms of silica in aggregates
and potassium and sodium alkalis in cement
paste. The reactivity is potentially harmful
only when it produces significant expansion.
Indications of the presence of alkali-aggregate
reactivity may be a network of cracks, closed
or spalling joints, or movement of portions of
a structure. Alkali-silica reaction can be
controlled through proper aggregate selection
and/or the use of supplementary cementitious
materials (such as fly ash or slag cement)

Abrasion :Concrete is resistant to the

abrasive affects of ordinary weather.
Examples of severe abrasion and erosion
are particles in rapidly moving water,
floating ice, or areas where steel studs are
allowed on tires. Abrasion resistance is
directly related to the strength of the
concrete. For areas with severe abrasion.


Corrosion of reinforcing steel and other

embedded metals is the leading cause of
deterioration inconcrete. When steel
corrodes, the resulting rust occupies a
greater volume than the steel. This
expansion creates tensile stresses in the
concrete, which can eventually cause
cracking, delamination, and spalling.

Steel, like most metals except gold and

platinum, is thermodynamically unstable
under normal atmospheric conditions and
will release energy and revert back to its
natural stateiron oxide, or rust. This
process is called corrosion.
In reinforced concrete, the rebar may have
many separate areas at different energy
levels. Concrete acts as the electrolyte, and
the metallic connection is provided by wire
ties, chair supports, or the rebar itself.

Corrosion is an electrochemical process

involving the flow of charges (electrons and
ions). At active sites on the bar, called
anodes, iron atoms lose electrons and move
into the surrounding concrete as ferrous ions.
This process is called a half-cell oxidation
reaction, or the anodic reaction, and is
represented as:

2Fe 2Fe2++ 4e-

The electrons remain in the bar and flow to

sites called cathodes, where they combine
with water and oxygen in the concrete. The
reaction at the cathode is called a reduction
reaction. A common reduction reaction is
2H2O + O2+ 4e- 4OHTo maintain electrical neutrality, the ferrous
ions migrate through the concrete pore
water to these cathodic sites where they
combine to form iron hydroxides, or rust
2Fe2++ 4OH- 2Fe(OH)

This initial precipitated hydroxide tends to

react further with oxygen to form higher
oxides. The increases in volume as the
reaction products react further with
dissolved oxygen leads to internal stress
within the concrete that may be sufficient to
cause cracking and spalling of the concrete

Corrosion of embedded metals in concrete

can be greatly reduced by placing crack-free
concrete with low permeability and sufficient
concrete cover. Low-permeability concrete
can be attained by decreasing the water to
cementitious materials ratio of the concrete
and the use of pozzolans and slag. Pozzolans
and slag also increase the concrete
resistivity thus reducing the corrosion rate
even after it initiates

Additional measures to mitigate corrosion of

steel reinforcement in concrete include the
use of corrosion inhibiting admixtures
(Calcium nitrite (Ca(NO2)2 , sodium nitrite,
amine compounds , others ), coating of
reinforcement (for example, with an epoxy
resin), and use of sealers and membranes
on the concrete surface. Sealers and
membranes, if used, have to be periodically

Concrete and the Passive Layer

Although steels natural tendency is to
undergo corrosion reactions, the alkaline
environment of concrete (pH of 12 to 13)
provides steel with corrosion protection. At
the high pH, a thin oxide layer forms on the
steel and prevents metal atoms from
dissolving. This passive film does not
actually stop corrosion; it reduces the
corrosion rate to an insignificant level. For
steel in concrete, the passive corrosion rate
is typically 0.1 m per year. Without the
passive film, the steel would corrode at rates
at least 1,000 times higher (ACI222 2001).

Because of concretes inherent protection,

reinforcing steel does not corrode in the
majority of concrete elements and
structures. However, corrosion can occur
when the passive layer is destroyed. The
destruction of the passive layer occurs when
the alkalinity of the concrete is reduced or
when the chloride concentration in concrete
is increased to a certain level.

The Role of Chloride Ions : Exposure of

reinforced concrete to chloride ions is the
primary cause of premature corrosion of steel
reinforcement . The intrusion of chloride ions,
present in deicing salts and seawater, into
reinforced concrete can cause steel corrosion
if oxygen and moisture are also available to
sustain the reaction. Chlorides dissolved in
water can permeate through sound concrete
or reach the steel through cracks, No other
contaminant is documented as extensively in
the literature as a cause of corrosion of
metals in concrete than chloride ions. the
most popular theory is that chloride ions
penetrate the protective oxide film easier
than do other ions, leaving the steel

Carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide
from the air penetrates the concrete and
reacts with hydroxides, such as calcium
hydroxide, to form carbonates. In the
reaction with calcium hydroxide, calcium
carbonate is formed:

Ca(OH)2+ CO2 CaCO3+ H2O

This reaction reduces the pH of the pore
solution to as low as 8.5, at which level the
passive film on the steel is not stable.

Carbonation is generally a slow process. In

high-quality concrete, it has been estimated
that carbonation will proceed at a rate up to
0.04 inches per year. The amount of
carbonation is significantly increased in
concrete with a high water-to-cement ratio,
low cement content, short curing period, low
strength, and highly permeable or porous

Carbonation is highly dependent on the relative humidity

of the concrete. The highest rates of carbonation occur
when the relative humidity is maintained between 50 and
75 percent. Below 25 percentrelative humidity, the
degree of carbonation that takes place is considered
insignificant. Above 75 percent relative humidity, moisture
in the pores restricts CO2 penetration. Carbonationinduced corrosion often occurs on areas of building
facades that are exposed to rainfall, shaded from sunlight,
and have low concrete cover over the reinforcing steel.

Carbonation of concrete also lowers the

amount of chloride ions needed to promote
corrosion. In new concrete with a pH of 12 to
13, about 7,000 to 8,000 ppm of chlorides
are required to start corrosion of embedded
steel. If, however, the pH is lowered to a
range of 10 to 11, the chloride threshold for
corrosion is significantly lowerat or below
100 parts per million. Like chloride ions,
however, carbonation destroys the passive
film of the reinforcement, but does not
influence the rate of corrosion.

Durability design is finding properties below to

make the concrete and RFT durable for design life

1. minimum cement-content(ph).
2. maximum water/cement
3. minimum grade of concrete(hardness).
4. minimum cover to the
5. type of cement to be used .
6. admixtures to be used .

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