Concrete cancer, also known as alkali-silica reaction (ASR), is a serious problem that can damage or destroy structures made of concrete. It occurs when steel reinforcement within a concrete slab begins to rust, causing it to expand and displace the surrounding concrete, making it brittle and prone to cracking. This weakens the structure and can lead to pieces of concrete falling out, damaging property and endangering human life. The corrosion of steel is accelerated by the acid created during the chipping process, as concrete is porous and absorbs it.
Stress fractures can also be caused by wear or bearing weight, allowing water to penetrate the concrete and react with the steel. Flat concrete roofs are particularly vulnerable to this type of damage if not properly waterproofed. If you find evidence of concrete shedding or concrete cancer, you must act quickly to prevent further damage. Consider high-quality waterproofing options such as Wolfin or Cosmofin membranes to seal new horizontal concrete surfaces.
You should also get expert help to understand what type of cancer you are dealing with and how best to treat it. In cases of chloride contamination in buildings near the ocean, specialized repair work may be necessary. It is also important to ensure that the reinforcing steel was properly prepared when the concrete was initially poured. To prevent concrete cancer from occurring in the future, make sure that flat roofs are properly waterproofed and that steel bars are not too close to the surface of the concrete.
Regular maintenance checks should also be carried out to identify any potential problems before they become serious.
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