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e-Mat - Revista de Cincia e Tecnologia de Materiais de Construo Civil Vol. 1, n. 1, p.

1-9, Maio 2004

Concrete repair and rehabilitation: issues and trends Reparo e reabilitao do concreto: aspectos e tendncias
Noel. P. Mailvaganam*
National Research Council Canada, Institute for Research in Construction, Building Envelope and Structure, Noel.Mailvaganam@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca, Ottawa, Canad
Recebido: 01/11/2002 Aceito: 11/11/2003 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A substantial proportion of todays construction expenditure is on repair. Such a significant expenditure has influenced the market for repair materials, specialized techniques and services. This is indeed evidenced by the flood of new materials and expert services to address the specific requirements of the repair market. This phenomenal explosion of proprietary products however, has increased the complexity of material selection and heightened the potential for problems to occur. Evaluation by testing and research has not kept pace with development of new products. Thus, products are being used before the design professional can be assured that do indeed fulfill the desired requirements. The important matter in repair and rehabilitation is to establish the nature and severity of the service environment, to properly assess how much degradation has occurred, and to reasonably estimate the intended service life. From these and known relationships of environmental influences on construction materials and procedures, criteria for selection of materials and techniques can be developed to give a repair that will have more than a reasonable probability of success

Atualmente uma parcela considervel dos gastos no setor da construo civil relacionam-se a reparos. Esses gastos significantes influenciaram o mercado quanto aos materiais de reparo, tcnicas e servios. Isso evidenciado pelo grande nmero de materiais novos e servios especializados que respondem a requisitos especficos do mercado de reparos. Esse incremento fenomenal de novos materiais, entretanto, fez com que houvesse uma maior complexidade para a seleo dos materiais e aumento do potencial de ocorrncia de problemas. A avaliao por ensaios e pesquisa no desenvolveu-se no mesmo ritmo dos novos produtos. Assim, os produtos esto sendo empregados mesmo antes de suas propriedades terem sido comprovadas e ter-se garantidos que respondero aos requisitos impostos pelos projetistas. Em reparo e reabilitao importante estabelecer-se a natureza e a severidade do ambiente de exposio para que seja possvel aferir-se qual a intensidade da degradao ocorrida e, de forma racional, estimar-se a vida de servio desejada. A partir do conhecimento desses parmetros e das influncias do meio ambiente no comportamento dos materiais e procedimentos, pode-se desenvolver critrios para a seleo de materiais e tcnicas a fim de que o reparo tenha mais do que uma razovel probabilidade de sucesso.
Keywords: Concrete, repair, materials selection, repair techniques. Palavras-chave: Concreto, reparo, seleo de materiais, tcnicas de reparo.
End.: Montreal Rd., K1A 0R6, Ottawa, Canad. Fone 01-613-993-9713 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Maintaining and repairing building stock has been a recurring need owing to the natural degradation of materials and structure under the combined effects of loads and environmental factors. In the past, the practice was to replace old buildings that had deteriorated or that were no longer suited to their original purpose. More recently, the widespread deterioration of our infrastructure and the high cost of replacement give us no option but to repair and rehabilitate. Current rehabilitation techniques and practices have been derived largely from those of new construction. However, new construction and rehabilitation differ from each other in several important respects, including project scale, technology management and financing. For instance, because ambient conditions such as temperature and humidity are less easily controlled in rehabilitation, the materials used in this case should be less sensitive to those conditions. The use of proper procedures in repair and rehabilitation are critical to success, yet these procedures are not nearly as well defined by codes and standards as those for new construction. Repair and rehabilitation involve much smaller quantities of materials and, therefore, application procedures ordinarily considered in new construction may not be best suited for them [1,2]. There is a high incidence of repair failure and this is probably due to the fact that architects, engineers and contractors have been slow to realize these differences. The result is that all too often the repairs have to be re-done within a short period an enormously costly exercise [1,2]. The urgent need to repair structures that have failed, because they either were not designed to withstand service conditions or were not properly constructed, and the concern of many professionals with regard to methods of testing for quality assurance and predicting service life, has made durability the most pressing construction problem of the day. This is reflected in the growing importance of international institutions that are beginning to force changes in how concrete and structural durability are defined and managed [3,4].

conditions provide variability and direction of the gradients. These operating conditions can aggravate or accelerate premature failure of the components in a repair. The relative severity of these factors will vary depending on the use and location of the structure; and the type of repair material used will, of course, determine if deterioration will occur. Predicting these fluctuations and accommodating them at the design stage is important. However it is often overlooked probably due to a lack of awareness or understanding. This fact alone may be responsible for many premature failures. Deterioration of a material is a complex phenomenon that requires appreciation at the micro-structural level for diffusion of chemical species and at the macro-structural level for cracks and damage. The heterogeneity of the materials combined in an assembly requires an understanding of the interaction of the materials. In addition it is also important to understand that the durability of the repair is a function not only of the nature of its basic components but is also dependent on how such component and the system as a whole respond to the exposure conditions of the structure. Designers can make the greatest contribution to minimizing defects and the cost of repair and maintenance. At present this contribution is not as effective as it should because they do not take into account the fact that causes of the problem are often interrelated. Such causes include unsatisfactory detailing, incorrect selection or specification from the proliferation of alternative building materials, components and systems, and the failure to appreciate how a structure will be used and maintained. These inadequacies apply to both the initial design and repair design processes [4-6]. Concrete repair requires a range of materials with different physical and chemical properties and application techniques. Compatibility with the original construction material (called the substrate), structural considerations and ease of use in a wide variety of situations are all crucial. Despite these accepted principles, many architects and engineers design rehabilitation projects without sufficient knowledge of the materials they specify. They often do not appreciate the meaning and importance of compatibility between repair materials and the substrate [7-10]. Compatibility is a measure of the matching of physical, chemical, electrochemical and

Today's Technologies and Issues

Concrete structures are an assembly of operating systems that experience temperature, air pressure and vapour pressure gradients. Seasonal and diurnal fluctuations in outdoor

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dimensional properties between the repair materials and the substrate. The consequence of a mismatch of the moduli by the combination of concrete and epoxy patching materials in a repair is shown in Fig. 1. The correct choice and proper use of repair materials is therefore, critical to the achievement of long service life for repaired structures. However, the designer and prospective user (engineers or contractors) of the materials are not equipped with performance criteria (Table 1) that provide a rational analytical tool for selecting the appropriate materials for a particular repair situation. It is unclear whether most standards tests are representative of field conditions, yet they are often used to determine durability criteria for field use. The development of performance standards has not kept pace with the development of materials, primarily because of a lack of supporting scientific and field data. Thus, it is no surprise that there is a high failure rate with new technologies and materials. A more direct means is required for linking the properties of repair materials with quality and performance of what is actually produced in the field [2,5-7].

Most the laboratory and theoretical studies reported in the literature relate to individual factors influencing the durability of concrete repairs an approach that exaggerates the importance of the factor in question. But the value of the data produced from this reductionist (study of one variable at a time) approach is rather limited because the behavior of materials in real life is the result of interactions between many variables acting simultaneously. Only a holistic approach to research on deterioration will yield effective solutions to durability problems [2,3,8]. Rehabilitation often presents the unique challenge of carrying out the repairs safely and efficiently while keeping the facility open to normal use. This operational reality may dominate technical, scheduling and logistic considerations governing repair work. Furthermore, the repair location is typically confined or cramped, and may be inaccessible to work crews using standard construction technology. Often the work must be done at offpeak hours, which affects scheduling and quality control [1].

a) Load perpendicular to the interface

b) Load parallel to the interface

Figure 1. Effects of mismatching elastic modulus (from [17] with permission).

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Table 1 General requirements of patch repair materials for compatibility (adapted from Emberson and Mays [7])
Property Shrinkage strain Creep coefficient (for repairs in compression) Creep coefficient (for repairs in tension) Thermal expansion coefficient Modulus of elasticity Poissons ratio Tensile strength Fatigue performance Adhesion Porosity and resistivity Chemical reactivity Relationship of repair material (R) to concrete substrate (C) R<C R<C R>C R=C R=C R=C R>C R>C R>C R=C R<C

Changes Shaping the Future

Among the global forces that are shaping the repair and restoration industry are a shift in the manner that scientific research is carried out on the deterioration process and the evaluation of repair materials. The compatibility of these materials in repair systems, the emphasis on the environmental safety aspects of materials, and the increased need for performance specifications are all considerations. The processes of degradation that cause loss of durability are very complex. Each is non-linear in itself and interacts physically, chemically and sometimes biologically with other processes and the environment. As a result, simple solutions addressing each process in isolation are inadequate. A holistic approach. that provides an understanding of a phenomenon or a structure in terms of an integrated whole is required. A holistic model for deterioration takes into account the effect of both the scientific facts and the experimental knowledge of environmental factors and how they affect each component of the structure. The model suggests that to achieve durable repairs it is necessary to consider the factors affecting the design and selection of repair systems as parts of a whole or as components of a composite system [10-13]. Professionals who commission and supervise repairs support this view. It is now recognized that an over-emphasis on reductionism in science the belief that all aspects of a complex structure or phenomenon can be fully understood by reducing them to parts has led to a fragmentation of knowledge and a poor

understanding of how materials perform in service [1,2]. These professionals are calling not only for a more holistic approach to concrete durability, but also new approaches to the drafting of specifications and codes, and to the prediction of service life of structures. Many experts believe that this paradigm shift in science will greatly influence future research. An emerging trend in repair research is the greater emphasis on building systems rather than on individual products, with a view to improving overall building performance. There is a need for manufacturers and suppliers of materials to have a much better background knowledge of the various constraints and requirements imposed on designers, as well as a knowledge of how the industry actually operates. The failure of manufacturers' to appreciate site practices is clearly demonstrated by their stipulation of installation procedures that cannot be realistically achieved. A significant challenge for all industries in the 21st century is the conservation of the environment. Therefore, in the future, the selection of materials will be governed by their ecological profiles, those that yield the least harmful by-products and generate the least waste. This will be augmented by the effective use of resources through the recycling of industrial by-products and demolished concrete; control of carbon dioxide emission by improved methods of cement manufacture and use of admixtures to reduce cement contents in concrete and the use of energy saving construction methods. Engineers responsible for selection will be expected to exercise social

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responsibility by considering not only engineering properties and cost, but also ecological friendliness. The growing importance of health and safety issues will require repair and rehabilitation to upgrade the structure so that it meets current fire codes and indoor air quality requirements. This will entail the use of materials with good fire-retardant characteristics and innocuous materials free of toxic emissions. There are now a variety of ways available to achieve a given level of performance, which creates considerable pressure to use performance specifications [11,12]. This concept is one in which a building code, for example, stipulates only that a design must achieve a certain level of performance or safety but does not prescribe any particular approach [4,12]. The use of performance specifications will encourage innovation and will facilitate the linking of laboratory and field data with field performance. However, this will require a better understanding of the relationship between material composition, microstructure and physical performance. Concrete durability is becoming the single most important design criterion in new codes in places such as Japan, Australia and Europe. A shift in the science of concrete durability from a reductionism approach to a holistic approach is necessary before we can use the test methods and specifications or codes that are truly applicable to the durability of materials in concrete structures. In the immediate future, therefore, the construction industry must make every effort to solve the problems that are inherent in the use of current materials and technologies. It is only then that new materials and technologies can be used to achieve effective repair.

benefiting not only the firm utilizing the idea, but also often accelerating the advancement of the entire industry. Repair and rehabilitation projects require materials whose characteristics of placement and performance are distinct from those used in the original construction. The market for repair and renovation, therefore, presents an ideal opportunity for the development and implementation of engineered materials. These are materials whose microstructure has been manipulated to yield particular and often unique, macroscopic behavioral properties [14,15]. Thus, there is an excellent opportunity for the development of specialized highperformance materials and a justification for higher unit material costs in cases where overall project and life cycle costs can be reduced. Some of the types of materials that will be in demand for repair and renovation projects are: Engineered materials with high performance, high durability and low maintenance, such as composites, block co-polymer and highstrength concrete. Products that are easy to use, increase productivity and reduce construction turnaround time. Desired properties will include a capability for high-flow and self-leveling characteristics, fast setting and rate of strength development, and a reduced sensitivity to site conditions such as storage temperatures and surface condition of the substrate. Products that emphasize environmental and safety aspects, such as low-volatility coatings which are safe to handle and do not emit toxic or irritating substances. Materials with improved fire safety characteristics with respect to smoke and fume hazards. Lightweight properties. materials with structural

New Developments

Innovation often leads to less expensive options, providing decision-makers with the opportunity to obtain desired objectives at least cost, while at the same time creating new market opportunities and more jobs for the national workforce. For example, the U.S. Transportation Research Board estimates that enhancing the durability of the nation's roads and bridges by a mere one percent will save between 10 billion and 30 billion dollars over a twenty-year period [13]. Technological innovation thus forms the basis of growth,

As a result of aggressive implementation of the global strategy to use high-performance materials, the following industry-shaping developments could be in common usage throughout Japan, North America and Europe by the year 2005. 4.1 New composite materials The development of new composite materials that are stronger, lighter and more durable is an essential requirement for infrastructure repair.

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Unique combinations of materials offer new and improved performance as compared with each material used alone. New combinations of materials can be translated into new designs to achieve effective repairs that will out-perform other products and procedures on the basis of cost and productivity. For example, carbon fibre-reinforced polymeric composites are currently being evaluated in the field for use as externally applied reinforcement in the repair of bridges (Fig. 2). While these composites are more expensive than steel, they can be more easily handled, leading to savings in the labor and facility shut down costs of repair operations. 4.2 Non-metallic rebar Plastic reinforcing bars and meshes, as well as carbon, aramid or other fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP), are being investigated as replacement for steel reinforcement in applications where corrosion is a major problem. If the limitations (such as modulus and creep) of these products prove to be surmountable, they have excellent potential as a replacement for reinforcing steel in locations subjected to extreme weather conditions and severe exposure to deicing salt.

4.3 High-performance concrete (HPC) The term high performance concrete refers to concrete mixtures that possess high workability, high strength, high dimensional stability and durability. This type of concrete finds application in heavily reinforced structural elements in high-rise buildings, offshore platforms, superspan bridges and heavy duty pavements. The microstructure principles underlying the composition and properties of high performance concrete are related to improved homogeneity particularly in the porous and weak transition zone that exists at the paste-aggregate interface [16]. 4.4 Special admixtures These are chemicals that modify one or more properties of the concrete. Although some have been used for many years the newer versions address the compatibility issues that stem from the use of a mixture of admixtures in a single concrete mix. Five types of admixtures that are used in specific repair applications are airentraining agents, superplaticizers, viscosity enhancing, shrinkage reducing and corrosion inhibitors.

Figure 2. Schematics of column repair with FRP composites

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The increased use of special concretes that contain three or more admixtures has increases the potential for alteration of the required airvoid system, making such concrete susceptible to freeze/thaw attack. Newly developed airentraining admixtures based on fatty acids have shown promise by their compatibility with the newer superplasticizers and stability in silica fume containig concrete. However, despite of the valuable durability properties they confer, these materials have serious disadvantages particularly in high volume flyash concrete that limit their widespread use [17,18]. Current field research is focused on the use of porous particles with preformed bubble reservoirs as air-entraining agents (Table 2). The new material is superior to the traditional product in that it is not affected by many of the 23 factors that normally affect the air entrainment process [19]. New superplasticizers that produce their concrete modification through a delayed release mechanism have now been developed. The admixtures are therefore, independent of the time of addition. This characteristic will enable their widespread use, particularly in ready-mix concrete applications (which account for 65% of the industry) thus making a singular contribution to the enhancement of concrete durability [18]. One of the most exasperating problems when building with concrete is its normal shrinkage cracking. Some of the structures where cracks due to drying shrinkage often occur, and where the consequences can be serious, are bridge decks, parking garages, marine structures, primary and secondary containment structures and industrial floors. Current measures taken to reduce shrinkage cracking have been the use of high range water reducers to attain very low

water:cement ratios, the use of expansive admixtures and Type K cements. A new liquid admixture called shrinkage reducing admixture (SRA) introduced to the North American market in 1995, is said to chemically alter the shrinkage mechanism without expansion. The SRA, which is added to the concrete mix with the gauge water and dispersed in the concrete during mixing reduces the shrinkage by reducing the surface tension of water in the pores between 2.5-50 nm in diameter. After the concrete hardens the admixture remains in the pore system, where it continues to reduce the surface tension effects that contribute to drying shrinkage. Corrosion inhibitors should provide an important defense against the problem of reinforcement corrosion in repaired structures. This advantage, however, has not been realized because of the limitations of currently marketed products which provide only short-lived protection to the reinforcement. Research in progress in Canada, the United States, Japan and Europe is directed towards developing multifunction admixtures, which provide more than one modification (for example, corrosion inhibition, retardation, and the prevention of cracking and deterioration). Admixtures that provide control of the hydration process for extended periods of time for concrete mixed and transported in ready-mix trucks have been developed. This will prove advantageous as traffic becomes denser and transit time becomes longer. Recent advances in cohesion-inducing admixtures have allowed placement of concrete underwater without use of conventional tremies and the design of selfleveling/self-compacting concrete (SL/SC Concrete). The admixtures provide

Table. 2 Dosage of plastic microspheres to produce frost resistant concrete [19]

Cement Paste (w+c) in Kg per 1 m3 of concrete <450 450-580 500-550 550-600 >600 Dosage (Kg/m3) of microspheres at W/C of: 0.4 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 0.45 1.5 2.0 2.0 2.5 2.5 0.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 0.55 4.5 5.0 5.5

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pseudoplastic (viscosity decreasing as shear increases) flow behaviour to slurries, mortar and concrete that resist sedimentation and sagging at rest but can be easily mixed, pumped and sprayed. SL/SC concrete is particularly useful in repairs done in an area of limited access. The highly flowable, yet stable concrete can spread readily into place and fill the area being repaired without consolidation and without undergoing significant separation [17]. 4.5 Polymer concrete Where the binding matrix is mainly resinous, is an expensive product and its use is limited to specific highly corrosive environments. The cost viable latex-based materials used as concrete admixtures however, have found more widespread use. Advancements in polymer chemistry and the longer life of polymer-based concretes make them cost-efficient in some applications, such as in pavement, bridges, dams, and runways, where they can reduce repair and maintenance. As more and more architects and engineers realize its costeffectiveness through life-cycle costing of projects, the use of polymer concrete will expand to applications such as the repair of spalled concrete in industrial floors, drains for acid wastes, sewer pipes, and machine bases. 4.6 Novel high-performance cementitious systems Major advances have been made in the development of three advanced cement-based systems. These are: cement/chemically bonded ceramics (CBC) of wide-ranging compositions that have properties approximating fired ceramics which have great potential in modern technology; the very strong, high-density materials such as microdefect-free (MDF) cements and densified systems containing ultrafine particles (DSP); and the resourceconserving products such as belite cements and belite sulfoaluminate cements. These are all expected to play a major role in the future of cement manufacture and utilization [19]. Owing to high cost and special processing problems, the total volume of materials produced by the application of these technologies is not likely to be large. However, they are important with regard to durability and high performance the technology-shaping parameters of repair materials.

Potential for Further Innovation

We can speculate about future prospects of the repair industry based on an understanding of current trends in looking at both opportunities and problems. A creative technology-based, response to the infrastructure problem would ideally take the form of improvements in the productivity of rehabilitation activities, durability, predictability and less expensive repairs. To date, the differences between rehabilitation and new construction have had little impact on productivity, because the volumes involved in rehabilitation work performed has been small. However, as annual rehabilitation expenditures increase, issues of productivity and cost will become more important and the need to recognize the specific constraints associated with rehabilitation will become more evident. The emerging infrastructure renewal market is large enough to generate payoffs for private industry research and development, improving the industrys productivity. There is a need for radical improvements in technology that alleviate tedium and danger on the job. Automation and computerization offer several generic types of advances: remotesensing or remote-controlled robots to investigate and repair inaccessible members, integrated and intelligent equipment packages that combine testing, evaluation, removal, and repair of structures; and continuous real-time monitoring (as opposed to accelerated time as produced under laboratory conditions).


The assessment, design and implementation of repairs to existing structures are more complex than for new construction. Much research to better understand the critical factors affecting the performance such as the degree of composite action with the substrate to carry loads and accommodate deformation of repaired structures is therefore, needed. While new developments in materials will address some of the durability problems in construction, what is needed, above all, is a change in the manner in which research is conducted. For example, research on material degradation obtained from investigations in controlled laboratory conditions must be correlated to the environmental conditions in which the structures

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perform. This will enable us to obtain quantitative data for determining critical properties and to develop predictive procedures for assessing the effects of changes in materials. The challenge for the future then involves the gaining of a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in concrete deterioration as they relate to the environmental conditions in which structures perform; of the effects of material modifications, and of the controlling parameters of new composites. In addition to focusing on high-performance materials, future challenges include the development of more environmentally benign materials and the effective utilization of by-products and waste materials. The challenge also lies in knowing how to apply science and engineering research in a way that clarifies the impact of new technology on business and the environment.

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Patch Repair of Structural Concrete Part 1: Properties of Repair Systems. Magazine of Concrete Research, v. 42, n. 152, p. 147160, Sept. 1990. [8] EMMONS, P. H.; VAYSBURD, A. M. The Total Systems Concept for Improving Performance of Repaired Structures. Concrete International, n. 3, p. 31-36, Mar. 1995. [9] TRACY, R. G. Rehabilitation Strategies. Concrete International, p. 41-45, 1989. [10] MAILVAGANAM, N. P.; CUSSON, D. Durable Patches for Concrete Structures. Il Cemento, n. 3, p. 33, Apr. 1997. [11] MAROSSZEKY, M. Stress Performance in Concrete Repairs. ACI-SP 126, p. 467-473, 1991. [12] PLUM, D. R. The Behaviour of Polymeric Materials in Concrete Repair and Factors Influencing Selection. The Structural Engineer, p. 93-101, Sept. 1990. [13] HARRISON, T. A. Early Age Thermal Crack Control in Concrete. CIRIA Report 91, p 48, 1981. [14] BRILL, L.; KOMOLOS, K.; MAJZLAN, B. Early Age Shrinkage of Cement Pastes, Mortars, and Concrete. Materials and Structures, v. 13, n. 73, p. 41-45, 1980. [15] GIBERGUES, C. A. New to Old Concrete Bonding: Influence of Sulfate Type on Iterface Microstructure. Cement and Concrete Research, Vol 123, pp 431-444. [16] AITCIN, C. P. Concrete Construction, March 1980, 6, 220-30. [17] RIXOM, M. R.; MAIVAGANAM, N. P. Chemical Admixtures for Concrete, E &F N Spon. Third Edition, 1998. [18] COLLERPARDI, M. Superplasticizers and Air Entrianing Agents: State of the Art and Future Needs. ACI SP-144, p. 399-416, 1998. [19] ROY, D.; SILBEE, M. R. Novel Cements The Construction Specifier, p. 67-74, Dec. 1994.