Bridge Destruction by Neglect

The importance of pro-active maintenance.

Bridge Destruction by Neglect

Let’s talk about … maintaining concrete bridges.
Stop yawning already. This is an expensive topic.

The Tension of Costs

If you are involved in a maintenance budget you’ll be keenly aware of the tension of costs – the work that really needs doing isn’t necessarily covered by the budget.
Markham adding life to concrete
And of course the older the bridge becomes, the higher the potential maintenance costs.
In fact, the process of ageing is a self-driving cycle of deterioration. It goes something like this:

  • Concrete is somewhat porous, despite everyone’s best efforts. Moisture carries contaminants into and through the concrete.
  • Stresses, ASR and/or corrosion of the steel begin to open fine cracks in the slab. More moisture gets in.
  • The cause of the cracks gets worse. The cracks get wider. Parts of the structure start to fall off. The cycle repeats until the structure is unusable.

This is a very simplistic summary. The ageing of any given structure is typically caused by a combination of factors. But the over-arching theme is, carry out maintenance as early as possible. Have a pro-active maintenance program.
Concrete structures left without maintenance will self destruct over time

The Tuutti Model

There’s a very helpful diagram originated by Kyösti Tuutti of Lund University, Sweden, that illustrates the urgency of dealing with deterioration. Here’s a simple version, showing the initiation phase and the ‘propagation’ deterioration phase. Notice that at the final point, the structure has ended its working life.
Tuutti damage model graph

The Advanced Solution

There is an advanced solution. Aquron penetrating hydrogel treatments are available to arrest the deterioration and extend that service life – if applied early. With this in mind, we’ve modified the graph slightly, to demonstrate that if treatment is applied in the initiation phase – that’s well before the damages are severe or obvious – then the service life can be significantly extended. 
Think about what this means for long-term cost savings!
Modified Tuutti damage model showing influence of early penetrating treatment
Aquron penetrating hydrogels work by immobilising the moisture within the concrete.

Immobile moisture = no movement of contaminants = no feeding the deterioration.

  • The treatment is remarkably cost-effective, particularly if the planned service life is considered.
  • And safe! – with nil VOCs, penetrating hydrogel treatments can be used in the most sensitive environments.
  • Fast! – minimal downtime for the structure. That means minimal disruption to traffic! Also reduced traffic management costs. (See our Project Brief information below!)

If you can relate to the scenarios discussed in this article – get in touch today! We’re keen to discuss options with you.

Project Brief RMS Bridges

Markham adding life to concrete

Markham adding life to concrete


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We understand that choosing the correct solution and type of product is essential for the success of any project. Markham has a technical support team with many years of concrete industry experience and successful project applications and we are ready to help you find the right solution for your application.

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