5 Ways Concrete Can Fail & How to Avoid Concrete Failure
Concrete has become the world’s leading man-made building products. Due to its heat-proof properties and excessive strength that it can provide in construction, it has become hugely popular. Concrete is one of the most durable man-made materials, but even this sometimes has its weaknesses. Concrete failure is always a possibility if careful measures are not taken. There are different reasons for concrete failure. Here are 5 ways it can fail and how to avoid them.
Improper Raw Materials Resulting in Poor Quality Concrete
In some cases, the raw materials used can be the reason for it to fail. If the wrong raw materials are chosen or if they are of bad quality, the result would be poor quality concrete. The mixture is as important as the raw materials (if not more). The ratio of how each of the raw materials is added is of uttermost importance. Most often, shortcuts to save time and money result in poor quality concrete that breaks quickly and is void of the required strength.
Solution: Take care in deciding which raw materials are used and in what proportion. Do adequate research before making your final decision.
Poor Finishing Resulting in Trapped Air
Another common issue is poor finishing when applying the concrete. Due to this poor finishing, a certain amount of air or water gets trapped in between the concrete. Trapped air & water reduces the strength of the slab at certain points and can prove to be extremely dangerous since it is weak concrete.
Solution: Keeping air content below 3% can help avoid such concrete failures to a great extent. Care should be taken to ensure the concrete isn’t let to finish prematurely. Also, ensure proper conditions during its manufacture to prevent excessive air/water from getting trapped.
Cracking in Concrete Due to Alkali-Silica Reactions
In certain cases, aggregates that contain silica and alkali, when exposed to humid conditions result in the formation of a gel that can crack concrete. Although not common and not the main type of concrete failure, it is still a way of concrete failing which has to be looked into. It creates potholes and crumbling of concrete pavements, buildings, etc.
Solution: Ensure that high-silica content aggregates do not come in contact with humidity. If that is a difficulty, choose raw materials that have a medium to a low percentage of silica.
Overloading Concrete Beyond The Point of Failure
This is an issue that is surprisingly more common. Different kinds of concrete exist that demonstrate various levels of strength. If the concrete is being used for building a structure that is going to have to support a large weight, the appropriate type of concrete should be used (for example, reinforced concrete). In some cases, to cut costs, contractors use the wrong type of concrete to get the job done quicker. This fails when heavy loads are exerted on the structure.
Solution: Use the right type of concrete for the right purpose. Avoid overloading concrete structures beyond the prescribed limit.
Softening of concrete due to sulphate attack.
Water that contains a high level of dissolved sulphates can cause softening of concrete due to expansion and crystallisation. In such cases, there is also a possibility of internal sulphate attacks due to high curing temperatures.
Solution: Use water that is treated and with low levels of dissolved sulphate.
We hope that our blog has been informative and helped you solve your concrete problems. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01442 389105 or alternatively you can head over to our contact page to fill in our online enquiry form.