What Is A Concrete Degradation?

What Is A Concrete Degradation?

What Is A Concrete Degradation?

Concrete degradation of concrete refers to the damage or deterioration of concrete due to various factors such as calcium leaching, physical damage, or bacterial corrosion.  

Generally, concrete degradation is the deterioration of concrete in a structure due to environmental conditions, chemical reactions, or mechanical stresses. Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can cause concrete to crack, spall, and disintegrate.

Chemical reactions between the reinforcing steel and concrete components can lead to corrosion of the steel, causing further weakening of the structure.

Mechanical stresses such as vibrations caused by traffic or wind can have a significant impact on performance of concrete in terms of crack formation, damage to the reinforcement, and settlement. All these mechanisms contribute to progressive deterioration of the structure over time leading to its eventual failure.

Concrete is one of the most versatile building materials used in construction today. It is strong, durable and long-lasting when properly maintained.

Unfortunately, concrete can be subject to a variety of issues which can lead to its degradation over time, especially when exposed to harsh climates or poor maintenance.

Concrete degradation is a significant issue that affects the integrity and lifespan of concrete structures. This blog post will explore what concrete degradation is, why it occurs, and methods to prevent or repair it.

We’ll look at some common causes of concrete deterioration and how they can be addressed to ensure the safety and long-term reliability of concrete structures. With this information, you’ll gain a better understanding of what it takes to keep your concrete structure in good condition for years to come.

Causes Of Concrete Degradation

Concrete degradation is a process which can occur over time due to a variety of causes. The most common causes of concrete degradation are excessive moisture, exposure to salts and chemicals, corrosion of reinforcing steel, thermal or mechanical damage, freeze-thaw cycles and biological attack.

Moisture within the concrete structure can lead to increased susceptibility to freezing temperatures and also encourages the growth of destructive fungus and bacteria.

Exposure to road de-icing salts or other corrosive agents results in the destruction of cement paste or aggregates within the concrete structure. Corrosion of reinforcing steel can cause weakening or cracking of the concrete above it, leading to further deterioration.

Thermal damage may be caused by extreme temperature fluctuations while mechanical damage is commonly caused by compressive forces such as heavy traffic or impact from objects.

Freeze-Thaw cycles cause water inside the pores of hardened concrete to expand and contract during repeated thawing processes which weakens the overall integrity of the material.

Finally, certain microorganisms and fungi thrive in damp environments and can break down cementitious materials which make up much of concrete’s composition.

Signs Of Degrading Concrete

Concrete degradation is a process where the physical and chemical properties of concrete are altered. Signs of degrading concrete can include staining from water, reduced color intensity, surface cracks or chipping, and discoloration.

If left unchecked, these issues will worsen over time which can lead to structural failure in concrete structures such as stairs, walls, and foundations. It’s important to identify signs of degrading concrete early so that problems can be addressed before they become more serious issues.

Prevention And Repair Strategies For Degraded Concrete

Concrete degradation is a serious issue that needs to be addressed in order to maintain the structural integrity of any concrete structure.

Prevention strategies for avoiding concrete degradation include proper design and construction, regular inspection and maintenance, and timely repairs of any cracks or other signs of damage.

The first step in repairing damaged concrete is to determine the cause of the deterioration. The general principles of repair include: stopping and preventing further damage, treating exposed steel reinforcement, and filling cracks or holes caused by cracking or the loss of spalled or damaged concrete.

There are various techniques that can be used for the repair, protection, and rehabilitation of concrete structures, and the appropriate approach will depend on the cause of the initial damage (e.g. impact, excessive loading, movement, and corrosion of the reinforcement, chemical attack, or fire) and whether the repair is intended to be fully load-bearing or cosmetic.

Repair techniques that improve the strength or performance of concrete beyond its original (undamaged) condition include: replacing and restoring concrete after spalling and delamination, strengthening to restore structural load-bearing capacity, and increasing resistance to physical or mechanical attack.

Repair techniques for stopping and preventing further degradation include: controlling anodic areas, using cathodic protection and cathodic control, increasing resistivity, preserving or restoring passivity, increasing resistance to chemical attack, protecting against the ingress of harmful agents, and controlling moisture.

Techniques for filling holes left by the removal of spalled or damaged concrete include: using mortar, flowing concrete, and sprayed concrete.

Cracks, fissures, or voids in concrete can be filled for structural or non-structural purposes, typically using low viscosity resins or grouts based on epoxy, pu, or acrylic resins, or micronized cement slurries.

One innovative proposal for repairing cracks is to use bacteria, such as BacillaFilla, which is genetically engineered to repair damaged concrete by filling in the cracks.


In conclusion, concrete degradation is a natural process that affects the integrity and strength of the material.

With proper maintenance and preventive care, the effects of concrete degradation can be managed by controlling environmental conditions, as well as taking preventative measures such as waterproofing, curing and sealing.

It’s important to understand how concrete is affected by its environment in order to ensure that your projects last longer and remain reliable over time.

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