Why Does Concrete Crack and Spall, and How Can It Be Prevented?

By | Concrete

Concrete, the backbone of modern commercial properties, is revered for its strength and durability. Yet, despite its robustness, concrete is not immune to the phenomena of cracking and spalling. Both cracking and spalling are signs of deterioration and critical concerns for a building’s structural integrity and aesthetics. While both may initially seem minor, they can lead to more severe issues if left unaddressed. This article explores the causes and implications of these common issues, offering insights into preventive measures and repairs. What are Concrete Cracking and Spalling? In the lifecycle of concrete structures, two prevalent issues are cracking and spalling, each signaling different underlying problems but often interconnected in their effects on a building’s health. Concrete Cracking is a common occurrence that can result from several factors. Unlike spalling, cracking refers to forming fissures or lines on the concrete surface, which can vary in depth and length. Concrete Spalling, on the other hand, goes beyond surface-level deterioration. It involves the breaking off or flaking of concrete surfaces, often exposing the reinforcing steel bars beneath. When this happens, it can lead to accelerated corrosion of the reinforcement and further compromise structural integrity. Concrete spalling and cracking can arise from various sources: Water Ingress and Freeze-Thaw Cycles – Moisture penetration, followed by freezing and thawing, can cause the concrete to crack and eventually spall. Settlement – Uneven settling of the ground beneath the concrete can create tension, resulting in cracks. Overloading – Exceeding the weight capacity of the concrete can cause cracks…

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