Concrete Durability-Influencing Factors and Testing


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Title: Concrete Durability-Influencing Factors and Testing

Author(s): S. W. Forster

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 191


Appears on pages(s): 1-10

Keywords: alkali-aggregate reaction; chemical attack; concrete durability; corrosion; freezing and thawing resistance

Date: 12/1/1999

Durability is defined in ACI 116R as the ability of concrete to resist weathering action, chemical attack, abrasion, and other conditions of service. Concrete can certainly be used to construct durable, long-lasting pavements and structures; we see numerous examples of this behavior daily as we go about our lives. Durability remains an issue, however, because we also see some examples of concrete construction that have not been as distress-free, or lasted as long as we would have liked. In these latter instances, usually one or more aspects of the environment, materials and mix design and/or construction were not sufficiently considered for the impact they would have on the performance of the concrete used. The objective of this paper is to review the various aspects of concrete durability as considered by ACI Committee 201, particularly as to the demands placed on the concrete as a material. Current methods used to explain the durability performance of in-service concrete or predict the performance of concrete to be placed will also be reviewed. The aspects of durability that affect and interact to produce the durability performance of concrete may be placed in five broad categories: freezing and thawing; aggressive chemical attack; surface abrasion; corrosion of embedded steel; and the alkali-aggregate reaction. Tests used to estimate concrete durability include microscopic examination, chemical techniques, characterization of the concrete components, and accelerated testing to simulate the durability aspect under consideration. Interpretation of the performance of in-service concrete is made more difficult by the fact that usually the deterioration is not caused by one type of distress, but involves a combination of factors.