Concrete spalling and cracking, sometime referred to as concrete cancer, is caused by rebar corrosion and can affect buildings and other concrete structures. Once the steel reinforcing in a concrete slab begins to rust, the steel rust can expand up to 7 times its original size and results in concrete being displaced and getting flakey. As the steel pushes the concrete away, it allows more water to come into contact with the steel and compounds the problem.
Visible rust stains on the outside of the concrete or leaking, bubbling up stains from within the concrete are probably all signs of concrete spalling and can be a dangerous. The spalling can cause chucks of concrete to separate from a building or bridge and becomes a real hazard to any pedestrians or traffic passing by below.
The good news is that a group of researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada may have found a cure for concrete cancer. According to their study, they have gotten good results with producing concrete using discarded glass. The researchers report that “by partially replacing cement with polymer, fly ash and glass powder, we were able to produce concrete that was more than 60% stronger than what was previously believed possible.” They are looking to further test their products but hope to eventually replace up to 25% of traditional cement materials, mined from the earth with recycled glass.
One of the authors of the report, Shahria Alam, an associate professor of engineering at the University, explains that millions of tons of glass bypass recycling centers and end up in North American landfills. Their goal was to make smarter and “greener” building materials without having to take new resources out of the ground.
At The Conco Companies, we are one of the leading concrete contractors in the Western U.S. and offer a wide range of quality services and products. Our experience includes providing services for commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects. We serve California, Washington State, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada.