Concrete Chipping: What is Concrete Cancer and How to Prevent it?

Concrete cancer, also known as alkali-silica reaction (ASR), is a serious problem that can damage or destroy structures made of concrete. Learn about its causes and signs with examples of when it has caused damage and how to prevent it.

Concrete Chipping: What is Concrete Cancer and How to Prevent it?

Concrete chipping, also known as concrete cancer, is a serious problem that can damage or destroy structures made of concrete. It is the rupture of the concrete surface due to the oxidation of steel reinforcement inside a concrete slab. Once steel starts to rust, it expands and deforms, causing pieces to fall off the concrete slab. This is known as “chipping” and increases the exposure of steel, worsening the problem.

Expanding steel can break or blow concrete, reducing its strength and leading to a tragic compromise of structural integrity. Flat concrete roofs are particularly vulnerable to leakage and water-driven concrete cancer if not adequately waterproofed. Steel bars resist tensile forces in concrete, and the cross-sectional area of each reinforcing bar works hard to withstand the load it has to withstand. As the steel rusts, the effective cross sectional area of the bar is reduced, until eventually there is not enough steel left intact to withstand the forces.

If your concrete is already set, you may consider installing a sheet of waterproof membrane on the surface of the concrete. A structural engineer can accurately diagnose cancer, but he or she may be able to determine if your building has been affected by the problem by looking for some telltale signs. If you need help repairing, removing or installing new concrete, compare quotes for concrete mixers near you. Sometimes experts may recommend the use of additional reinforcing steel anodes before applying new concrete, or steel can be replaced in severe cases.

Repairing heavily damaged concrete can cost thousands of dollars, so it may not be profitable compared to replacing it. To prevent this problem from occurring in the first place, it is important to ensure that your building is properly waterproofed and that any leaks are fixed as soon as possible. Additionally, it is important to use quality materials when constructing a building with concrete and to ensure that all reinforcing bars are properly protected from water.Concrete cancer is a serious issue that can cause significant damage to buildings if not addressed quickly and correctly. It is important to be aware of the signs of this problem and take steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

If you suspect that your building has been affected by this issue, it is important that you seek professional advice as soon as possible.

Riley Ryan
Riley Ryan

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