Concrete Durability in Bridges


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Title: Concrete Durability in Bridges

Author(s): Michael Hawkins

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 100


Appears on pages(s): 397-422

Keywords: alkali-aggregate reaction; bridges (structures); costs; deicers; concrete durability; deterioration; economics; inspection; maintenance; General

Date: 4/1/1987

Since the Industrial Revolution, technological progress has led to a steady increase in the loads imposed by industry on the highway network. This has revealed inherent reserves of strength in many early bridges. Durability, on the other hand, has been taken for granted. The application of engineering science produces structures capable of carrying these heavy loads with maximum economy of materials. In consequence, the reserves provided by earlier empirical methods are no longer available, and the effect of deterioration assumes greater importance. In recent years, attention has been drawn to the limited life expectancy of concrete highway structures. Among the factors that have influenced this in the United Kingdom, reference is made to the pursuit of elegant yet functional structures and the consequent importance of design detailing; changes in the properties of materials, particularly cement; the use and abuse to which structures are subjected including deicing salts; problems with the concrete itself; and, in particular, alkali-silica reaction. Examples of these and allied topics are examined in relation to both durability and life-cycle costs. Short sections are devoted to record keeping in a large highway authority and to recent developments in nondestructive testing.