Concrete Deterioration and Emerging Solutions

Concrete Deterioration and Emerging Solutions

FRP materials have turned out to be a durable solution to some of the long-standing challenges of civil engineering. Concrete deterioration, for instance, is one of the major problems the construction industry has been facing for decades. The useful service life of a concrete member usually depends on the corrosion rate of reinforcement. A structure starts corroding when aggressive elements such as chlorides and carbon dioxide penetrate the concrete and reach the embedded reinforcing steel. Corrosion of concrete reinforcement costs the construction industry billions of dollars every year.

A concrete structure may deteriorate due to inadequate maintenance, construction errors, and design. As mentioned earlier, the most common cause of deterioration in concrete infrastructure is corrosion of traditional reinforcement. Freeze-thaw attack, carbonation induced corrosion, and alkali-silica are also notable causes of deterioration.

There is a need for thorough investigation of existing deterioration so that a maintenance and rehabilitation strategy can be developed. There are specialized engineering companies which conduct investigation programs. On-site surveys and testing of materials are two major components of such investigation. The process involves detailed observation and documentation of the structure’s condition, with attention paid to the structural changes, expected service life, typical conditions and a brief survey of the structure’s environment.

During the last three decades, structural engineers and contractors have developed many repair and protection techniques. However, all of the techniques are designed to meet short-term needs. There is a difference between structural rehabilitation and protection against deterioration. The repair process involves the removal of rusted concrete, preparation of reinforcing steel and repair cavity. It is a complex task that involves the selection, placement, and curement of the repair material.

Despite the extensive research and development of several rehabilitation techniques, structural engineers are still struggling to find materials that can provide long-lasting deterioration solutions. Traditional steel cannot provide concrete structures with adequate protection against harsh environmental elements. Structures subject to corrosive environment demand corrosion-free reinforcement materials.

FRP composites have shown promising results in applications where strength, deterioration and non-conductivity are prime concerns. They have emerged as a potential solution to corrosion and other deterioration issues. Fiberglass rebar, for example, is an FRP construction product which offers corrosion-resistance, high strength-to-weight-ratio, ease of installation and other advantageous characteristics. Developed countries such as Canada, the US, and Japan have already developed design codes, guidance on the engineering, and construction of concrete members with FRP composites. This guide is a result of worldwide research and analytical work, and field applications of FRP bars.

GFRP construction materials clearly outsmart traditional materials when it comes to corrosion-resistance, durability, maintenance, and strength. This is why the structural engineers are now increasingly accepting GFRP composites as a strong alternative to conventional steel.

TUF-BAR is a proud manufacturer and seller of fiberglass bars and other durable construction products such as rock bolts, concrete anchors, and form ties. We produce high-quality GFRP reinforcement for both new and rehabilitation applications. Sea walls, dams, water tanks, bridges, buildings, research facilities, and parking garages are some of the major applications of our fiberglass rebar. Visit our site to know more about our products and see how our sustainable construction solutions can extend the service life of your next project.