Investigation of Concrete at a Middle East Plant

by Jerome P. O'Connor, Construction Technology Lab, Skokie, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Materials: Performance and Prevention of Deficiencies and Failures


In recent years, reinforced concrete construction in the Middle East has been beset by durability problems. The causes include availability of a limited number of skilled workers, marginal quality construction materials, and heat and humidity that combine to make it one of the most aggressive environments in the world. In contrast to the 20 or more year service life for structures in many parts of the world, some concrete structures in coastal areas of the Middle East show evidence of deterioration from reinforcement corrosion within five to ten years. An investigation of deterioration of reinforced concrete structures at a large industrial facility in the Arabian Gulf has been completed by the writer's firm within the last few years. Investigations were performed on structures selected from the plant's hundreds of facilities supporting both equipment and plant piping. Test structures were chosen based on structural type and configuration, extent of deterioration and proximity of environmental influences. 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. Testing revealed that reinforcement corrosion was due to high internal chloride levels, almost exclusively resulting from the use of sea water in concrete mix.

Subject Headings: Reinforced concrete | Industrial facilities | Deterioration | Corrosion | Concrete structures | Structure reinforcement | Material durability | Middle East

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