Increase Concrete Durability by Keeping Water Out

Concrete Cracking Due to Water Damage
Concrete Cracking Due to Water Damage

With concrete being the world’s most popular construction material, it’s clear why we must always push to find new ways of improving its inherent durability. And there’s no better to do this than to protect it from its nemesis—water.

Get Your First SmartRock Concrete Sensor for FREE

Giatec SR demo kit_
Giatec SR demo kit_

Why Is Water Bad for Concrete?

When water accumulates on a concrete surface, it can infiltrate the pores and cause concrete cracking. It’s not surprising that roads are in constant need of repair in climates that experience frequent freezing and thawing cycles.

Thankfully, researcher Konstantin Sobolev, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM), has designed a solution: water-repellent concrete.

How Does Water-Repellent Concrete Work?

Typically when you have water buildup on a concrete surface, the water will start to seep into the concrete—slowly but surely. With water-resistant concrete, however, water forms droplets or beads on the concrete surface, which then roll off. The main composite that Sobolev adds to the concrete mix to battle against water penetration is dubbed “superhydrophobic engineered cementitious composite” (SECC).

Water-Resistant Concrete Increases Durability
With water-repellent concrete can reduce the risk of large cracks forming on the concrete surface.

SECC Protects Concrete from Moisture in Two Ways

    • Nano-additives change the concrete on a molecular level once it has hardened, resulting in a spiky surface noticeable at a microscopic level. This rough surface causes the water to bead and roll off on contact. Think of a leaf with beads of water sitting on its hairy surface.

 

  • Millions of tiny bubbles containing air and siloxane oil are blended with the concrete. Cracking causes the bubbles to break and release the oil; and since water and oil don’t mix, this cracking keeps the water out.

How to Reduce Concrete Cracking

SECC alone doesn’t guarantee the impermeability of concrete. However, in combination with a fiber reinforcement strategy, it can effectively reduce the brittleness of high-strength concrete, thereby eliminating large cracks. Basically, strong polyvinyl alcohol fibers or high-density polyethylene fibers are mixed into the concrete to prevent small cracks from becoming larger gaps.

This method does not eliminate small cracks; rather it results in evenly distributed micro-cracks while the material’s superhydrophobic properties form a water barrier.

When compared to traditional concrete, this architecture provides two main advantages:

  1. It increases ductility or flexibility under stress by over 200 times.
  2. It enables the material to withstand 4 times the compression.

Sobolev has developed a number of high-performance concrete composites, all of which are designed to last. Some of his innovations have such impressive crack control that their service life is estimated to be 120 years. This is a massive improvement if you consider that the average lifespan of Wisconsin roads is around 40 or 50 years!

Increase Concrete Durability by Keeping Water Out

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Giatec Family Laptop Top Down

Level Up Your Project Reports With Giatec 360™ – Part 2

Let’s dive deeper into report generation to learn more about how Giatec 360’s reports help you make better decisions faster on the jobsite. For an introduction to Giatec 360, click to read Part 1 of this blog. Get Your First SmartRock Concrete Sensor for FREE Free Demo Kit Giatec 360 – An Overview Some of the key features are as listed as follows:   Temperature Differential Analysis  Generating Full PDF/CSV Reports  Customizing the reports as per user’s preferences which includes   Generating reports for a specific data range …

Level Up Your Project Reports With Giatec 360™ – Part 1

Let’s learn about Giatec 360 and how to make the most of this advanced web-based dashboard for monitoring and managing concrete pours. Get Your First SmartRock Concrete Sensor for FREE Free Demo Kit The construction industry is one of the busiest, most challenging, and constantly evolving industries, globally. A series of activities beginning from the designing, planning, testing, maintenance, etc., are coupled with rising demand for industrial infrastructure. The requirement and expectations of the field are set high, and the demands are more augmented than usual.   Besides…

Giatec Paper Award

Giatec Award for Best Paper 2022 

We are very excited to announce the launch of our annual sustainability in construction research paper award contest! This is a great opportunity for civil engineers to expose their research and development to a global audience of industry experts. Plus, the winner will receive a monetary award of $1,000 US. The “Giatec Award for Best Paper” is open to civil-engineering professors, students (undergraduate and graduate), and researchers across Canada and the U.S. As a leading innovator in sustainable concrete, Giatec looks to connect academic research and development in…

Claim Your Free Demo Kit

Get Your First SmartRock Concrete Sensor for FREE

Get Real-Time Data with SmartRock®

See how it works today

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience, analyze site traffic and assist in our marketing efforts. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy Page.