concrete delamination and spalling

Reinforced concrete (RC) structures are popularly chosen for their cost-effectiveness, durability, and ease of maintenance compared to other structural systems. However, over time, their structural performance deteriorates due to multiple factors, including environmental conditions, design loads, design errors, material changes, and construction issues. Among these factors, reinforcement corrosion is a common and significant cause that significantly impacts the integrity of RC structures.

Chloride and carbonation are among the primary causes of reinforcement corrosion. Chloride ingress and carbonation can penetrate the concrete, reaching the reinforcing steel and initiating the corrosion process. These corrosive agents weaken the steel, compromising its structural integrity and reducing the load-bearing capacity of the reinforced concrete structure. It is crucial to address chloride and carbonation exposure to prevent or mitigate reinforcement corrosion and ensure the long-term durability of the structure.

Reinforcement corrosion in concrete structures can lead to various forms of structural damage. Some of the common types of damage caused by reinforcement corrosion include:

Rebar corrosion
Cracking and Spalling:

As reinforcement steel corrodes, it undergoes expansion, exerting internal pressure on the surrounding concrete. This pressure can lead to the formation of cracks and the detachment of concrete surface layers, resulting in visible deterioration. Corrosion-induced expansion causes the concrete to crack, spall, and lose its integrity, leading to noticeable cracks, flaking, and the separation of concrete cover from the reinforcement.

Bond Strength:

The weakening of the bond between the reinforcement and concrete caused by corrosion-induced damage reduces the load-bearing capacity of the structure. As a consequence, the structural integrity of the affected elements is compromised, increasing the risk of structural failures or collapses.

Loss of Structural Integrity:

Corrosion of reinforcement steel in structural components leads to a decrease in their effective cross-sectional area. This reduction in cross section significantly reduces the load-carrying capacity of concrete elements, including slabs, columns, and beams. The loss of strength in these sections can have severe consequences, particularly in structures like parking garages where loads are significant.

The collapse of Algo Centre Mall serves as a tragic example of the consequences that can arise from the unnoticed loss of capacity and integrity in structural elements, even during regular visual inspections.

Structural Distortion:

Reinforcement corrosion can cause deformation or distortion of concrete elements, leading to misalignments, shifts, or uneven settlements. This can result in an uneven distribution of loads and affect the overall stability of the structure.

In conclusion, the impact of reinforcement corrosion in concrete cannot be underestimated. It silently weakens the structural integrity of our buildings and infrastructure, posing a significant threat to safety and durability. The consequences of overlooking this hidden enemy can be disastrous.

Regular inspections, employing advanced testing techniques, and implementing preventive measures are crucial steps in detecting and mitigating corrosion early on.

Professional restoration services can help identify the root causes, repair the concrete, and implement preventive measures to mitigate further damage. If you notice any of these signs in your parkade or balcony, it’s important to take immediate action. Consulting with a professional concrete restoration company can help you assess the extent of the issues and develop a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive services!