Destruction of Concrete Water Tanks in a Severe Climate Due to Ice Lensing


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Title: Destruction of Concrete Water Tanks in a Severe Climate Due to Ice Lensing

Author(s): Christopher Rogers and Boguslaw Chojnacki

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 100


Appears on pages(s): 723-740

Keywords: absorption; air entrainment; climate; failure mechanisms; freeze-thaw durability; freezing; ice formation; low temperature; petrography; reinforced concrete; water tanks; General

Date: 4/1/1987

A concrete fish-breeding tank built near the north shore of Lake Superior failed during the first winter. The 250 mm thick concrete wall failed by cracking and delamination in the center of the concrete. The outside surfaces were generally unaffected. The concrete leaked water at such a rate that the tank became unusable. Spring-fed water inside the tank had been maintained at a constant temperature of 4.5 C. At this site, the mean daily temperature in December is -10 C; in January and February it is about -15 C. Minimum temperatures are commonly less than -30 C and may drop to -40 C. The concrete had been delivered by ready-mix trucks following a two-hour haul. Quality control on the site had been poor. The concrete in the failed areas was non-air-entrained and had a high water-cement ratio. Failure was attributed to formation of an ice lens within the permeable concrete.