Durability of Structural Concrete in Modern Buildings in the United Kingdom


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Title: Durability of Structural Concrete in Modern Buildings in the United Kingdom

Author(s): J. B. Menzies, J. F. A. Moore, and R. J. Currie

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 100


Appears on pages(s): 143-168

Keywords: buildings; carbonation; concrete durability; corrosion; precast concrete; prestressed concrete; reinforced concrete; reinforcing steels; General

Date: 4/1/1987

Concrete is ubiquitous in building and civil engineering construction. Most of it is still performing satisfactorily and some has successfully reached a considerable age. However, instances of deterioration arising from corrosion of embedded steel following carbonation of the cover come to light increasingly, particularly in the United Kingdom among the forms of concrete structures constructed during the post-war building booms. For a proportion of these structures, deterioration of some concrete is advancing more rapidly than hoped or expected. This paper examines information on rates and depths of carbonation obtained from extensive field investigations by the Building Research Establishment of reinforced and prestressed concrete in these populations of modern buildings. The data are compared with those derived from laboratory specimens and from field studies elsewhere. A consistent view of the performance with respect to carbonation of different grades of concrete emerges. The rate of carbonation in the buildings was widely variable and sensitive to the achieved quality of the concrete. The implications for existing structures are given. The need for a substantial increase in the quality of the cover in reinforced concrete in future building construction is discussed in relation to the longevity required and the means of achieving it.