Inspectioneering Journal

Concrete Corrosion Problems and Cures

By Pieter VanderWerf, President at Building Works. This article appears in the September/October 2011 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Deterioration of concrete structures has plagued petrochemical production facilities. As a result of sulfur compound exposure, concrete corrodes and weakens continuously over time. The proper operation of the structure deteriorates with it until management undertakes repair or replacement of the affected sections. While the concrete degrades, productivity can be lost and product quality can suffer. The repairs undertaken can be costly. The production downtime during repairs can cost even more.

Fortunately new practices can alleviate the problem. There is now a better understanding of the chemistry of concrete and how it corrodes. This has led to alternative new materials with sharply higher durability in severe corrosive environments. It has also helped improve practices in inspection and rehabilitation to spot problems in their early stages.

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