American Society of Civil Engineers

Middle Eastern Concrete Deterioration: Unusual Case History

by Jerome P. O’Connor, M.ASCE, (Dir., Bldg. and Fac. Engrg., Law Engrg., Inc., 500 W. Park Blvd., Suite 850, Itasca, IL 60143.)

Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, Vol. 8, No. 3, August 1994, pp. 201-212, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: For more than 10 years, starting in the mid-1970’s, an unprecedented construction boom transformed Middle Eastern nations into modern industrial societies. It is now common for reinforced concrete structures built during that time in the region to experience durability problems. This case history is based on an investigation of deterioration of reinforced concrete structures completed within the last few years at a large industrial facility in the Arabian Gulf. Investigations were performed on structures selected from the plant’s hundreds of facilities that support both equipment and plant piping. Typical deterioration included cracking, delamination, and spalling of concrete as well as underlying reinforcement corrosion. In some cases, the extent of deterioration had compromised the structural capacity of members. What makes this case unique is not the widespread reinforcement corrosion but the fact that the corrosion was caused by high internal chloride levels, almost exclusively resulting from the use of sea water in the original concrete mix.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Concrete structures
Middle East
Reinforced concrete