The Silver Bridge catastrophe is a stark reminder of the human and economic costs of neglecting concrete durability. Meticulous engineering, quality materials and regular inspection and maintenance are the keys to ensuring that Durable Concrete Construction last their intended service life and beyond.
What are the problems with concrete curing?
Durable Concrete Construction
Whether the structure is indoor or outdoor, a high level of physical and chemical resistance is essential to maintain structural integrity and longevity. The key to durable concrete is understanding the various factors that influence its longevity, including:
Mix Design and Permeability
Durable concrete requires a well-designed mix with low permeability. It also relies on adequate curing practices, jointing and finishing techniques to minimize voids that weaken concrete and create cracking opportunities. The use of air-entraining agents helps with permeability and improves concrete’s ability to resist freezing temperatures.
Often, concrete structures are exposed to industrial chemicals that can trigger reactions within the matrix, compromising its strength and leading to failure. Crafting concrete mixes with a strong defense against these chemicals and implementing innovative advancements like microbial-induced calcite precipitation ensure that the structure can withstand the harshest of environmental conditions.
In addition to reducing maintenance and repair costs, durable concrete structures are a significant contributor to environmental sustainability. By extending the life of existing structures, we can reduce demand for new materials and reduce waste production. The industry is also exploring new methods of incorporating supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete, aligning with global sustainability initiatives.