Extending The Durability Of Reinforced Concrete In Harsh Environment

Extending The Durability Of Reinforced Concrete In Harsh Environment

Considering the current aging concrete infrastructure in North America, the concrete industry is dealing with two challenging tasks. First, how to design and build new reinforced concrete (RC) structures that will maintain their integrity and usefulness during their expected service life with minimum repair and maintenance. Second, how to restore or extend the useful life of existing structurally deficient structures. Deteriorated structures require heavy maintenance to continue to remain operational and safe.

The remaining useful life of a structure is calculated based on its current rate of distress or deterioration while assuming continued exposure. Chloride attack is one of the most prominent elements when it comes to investigating the durability of RC structures in marine and highways or other harsh environments. Chloride attacks cause and accelerate corrosion of steel reinforcing bars causing spalling and cracking or even complete structural failure.

It’s common in the construction industry to delay maintenance activities until the situation becomes worse. There are thousands of structurally deficient and unsafe bridges in the US and Canada waiting for rehabilitation. However, well-informed bridge owners understand the importance of sustainable and timely rehabilitation.

No matter how well-designed or constructed a concrete structure is, it requires regular maintenance. However, the latest concrete reinforcement technologies such as GFRP reinforcement decreases the need for perpetual maintenance and repair. Advanced composites like glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) are corrosion-resistant and they can provide concrete with protection against corrosion.

In North America, corrosion of embedded metal in concrete is the primary cause of deterioration in RC structures such as bridges and public structures. Most of the existing concrete structures in North America were reinforced with traditional materials like steel. These structures have to go through year-round exposure to de-icing salts, the corrosive impact of acid rain, and freeze-thaw cycles. Poor construction practices is also a major reason why the importance of rehabilitation has increased.

While marine structures are subject to constant exposure to chlorides, highway structures have to go through de-icing salts during the winter. It becomes critical to identify and treat low concrete cover in order to maintain the strength of a highway structure. The lack of protection or maintenance will lead to premature depassivation of the steel reinforcement. Inadequate concrete cover accelerates the impact of chlorides ingress.

Extending durability of RC structures with GFRP reinforcement

GFRP construction products are completely reshaping the way the civil engineering community designs and rehabilitates concrete structures. As a lightweight, corrosion-free, and high strength construction solution, GFRP enables the construction industry to build durable highway structures, rail LRT, medical and IT facilities, buildings and more.

TUF-BAR is one of the most trusted GFRP manufacturers and sellers in North America. Our objective is to help the construction industry permanently eliminate structural issues like steel corrosion, heavy maintenance, and labor-intensive construction processes. Browse through our site to learn more about our GFRP products and their specifications!