This paper outlines the nature of problems, and their causes, affecting the durability of concrete, and considers various ways of reducing durability risks. The most widespread problem with concrete structures is the corrosion of their embedded steel reinforcement, which usually results from carbonation of the surrounding concrete or chloride ingress. Other problems in concrete include: (1) excessive cracking; (2) surface deterioration due to chemical attack; (3) physical weathering; (4) abrasion; and (5) the effects of alkali-aggregate reaction. Causes of concrete deterioration include: (1) porosity; (2) internal moisture transport; (3) environmental conditions; (4) bad specification, detailing, or construction methods; and (5) lack of maintenance. Risks to the durability of concrete can be reduced by: (1) identifying the risks; (2) understanding the behaviour of concrete; (3) assessing alternative construction strategies; (4) appropriate materials specifications; (5) appropriate detailing of the structure; (6) optimising the construction methods; (7) routine inspections of concrete; and (8) planning and budgeting maintenance from the outset. All these preventive actions form part of life cycle engineering, a comprehensive range of activities which can be applied to all the elements of a structure and all the structures in a project. For the covering abstract see IRRD 880139.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 18 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00724167
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0-7210-1495-X
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 19 1996 12:00AM