Mark Bushell, Business Unit Manager for Flooring and Refurbishment explains…..
30 million drivers use the UK’s road networks every single day – so safety is absolutely paramount. With so many causes of structural or aesthetic deterioration – such as pollution, natural damage and traffic collisions – our road bridges need a little help to keep them looking and performing well.
Concrete is a robust and durable building material but it is also under constant threat and when it fails the results can be catastrophic – especially if it affects the transport system. A whole host of things can cause damage and reduce the concrete’s lifespan. Vulnerability to water, airborne contaminates and the constant use of vehicles has meant that many parts of the UK transport network require upgrading to not only renovate, but ensure they are clean, safe and structurally sound.
Total Corrosion Management
With concrete used in the construction of so many of our nation’s bridges and other elements of the transport network, it’s vital that concrete is properly managed to ensure the highest standards of safety and to maintain their service and function over long periods of time. Ignoring corrosion is simply not an option, and a total corrosion management solution always begins with a condition survey.
A Condition Survey
A thorough condition survey is critical to ensure a successful repair and protection. After this investigation determines the cause of the deterioration, there are various techniques available for repairing concrete structures. The appropriate technique will depend on; a) the cause of the initial damage, and b) whether the repair is to be fully load-bearing or cosmetic.
Concrete Degradation & Steel Corrosion
A cause for concern on its own, concrete degradation can also lead to additional problems in reinforced concrete structures. With decreased protection to the steel element, this in turn encourages steel corrosion, often followed by cracking and spalling of the concrete which can lead to structural damage. Cathodic protection is the only way to completely to stop steel corrosion in existing reinforced concrete structures.
Another option is to provide additional concrete cover which can be expensive and offer no protection against latent damage. A more attractive and cost-effective solution is the application of concrete repair and protection with corrosion inhibitors. Suitable for most structures, this low maintenance system reduces concrete break-out and provides protection against residual chlorides.
Concrete deterioration, particularly reinforcement corrosion due to the effects of de-icing salts and exhaust gases accelerating the carbonation process, has had a major impact on durability. From our much maligned and pothole-riddled roads to car park closures due to safety, these bad experiences only emphasise the need for improved performance in design, workmanship and materials selection.
As there are so many causes of structural and aesthetic deterioration, it’s important to identify the right product or treatment first time, every time. Whether it’s the correct waterproofing solution, installing the perfect structural reinforcement or supplying a system that will protect concrete against corrosion – a refurbishment solution must be trusted to stand the test of time.
With a range of products and systems that is unrivalled in the industry, Sika is the global leader in the Total Corrosion Management (TCM) of concrete structures. Suitable for commercial and industrial buildings, residential properties, bridges and tunnels, the company’s approach includes cathodic protection, galvanic anodes, surface-applied corrosion inhibitors and high performance coatings – helping to safeguard the future of a property and protect assets with a rehabilitation solution that is built to last.