Technical Questions

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Precautions against sulfate attack

Q. What are the precautions against sulfate attack?


A. Sulfate attack is either a chemical or physical reaction, or both, between sulfates—usually in soil or ground water and concrete or mortar. The chemical reaction is primarily with calcium aluminate hydrates in the cement-paste matrix, often causing deterioration. ACI 201.2R recommends and the ACI 318 building code require precautions to prevent damage by sulfate attack when water containing sulfates can come into contact with the concrete. Precautions include the use of Type II cement, Type V cement, pozzolans, and slag with a known resistance to sulfate attack. ACI 201.2R and ACI 318 give more details, including sulfate in soil and maximum w/cm limits.


References: SP-1(02); SP-77; ACI 201.2R-16; ACI 318-19

Topics in Concrete: 318 Building Code; Concrete Fundamentals; Durability; Testing of Concrete

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