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Concrete Doesn't Always Last Forever (4/8/00)

Concrete Doesn't Always Last Forever (4/8/00)

Researchers have been investigating ways in which concrete can be made more resistant to common types of deterioration.

“To many people, concrete symbolises strength, function and reliability. Yet despite concrete’s image as a permanent material, the last 20 years or so have seen many concrete structures world- wide being repaired to restore their original performance, ” said research leader, Sue Freitag, of Central Laboratories of Opus International Consultants Ltd.

“Much of our infrastructure is close to the sea, so salt-induced corrosion of steel reinforcement is common. It is also the most severe form of concrete deterioration in New Zealand,” said Ms Freitag.

“As well as finding ways to reduce the risk of corrosion, the research also examines the effects of the stone which is used to make concrete and how this effects long-term performance.

“Current information about the behaviour of the raw materials used to make concrete in New Zealand isn’t good enough to confidently predict the likely life of concrete structures at the time they are designed and built.

“Although concrete technology developed overseas can be applied here, we need to find out more about our own local materials,” said Ms Freitag.

Results from the study, which is an investment of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, will help New Zealand designers and specifiers select materials that will produce more durable concrete.

“Ultimately this information will tell us if and when repairs are likely to be needed, so the lifetime cost of the structure can be estimated at the design stage,” said Ms Freitag.

For further information:

Sue Freitag, of Central Laboratories of Opus International Consultants Tel 04 587 0600, { HYPERLINK "" }

Madeleine Setchell, Foundation for Research Science and Technology Tel 04 498 7806, Mobile 025 40 60 40

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