Maintaining concrete infrastructure, such as highways and bridges, is not only costly but also requires ongoing maintenance to achieve their estimated service life. However, there is room for improvement. Shouldn’t concrete, known for its durability, be able to withstand the test of time without constant intervention?
Moisture and Deterioration
Surprisingly, one of the leading causes of premature concrete deterioration is moisture-borne contamination. Reactive substances carried by water and moisture vapor infiltrate the concrete, leading to cracking and degradation. Structures exposed to high-moisture environments, such as watercourse bridges, are particularly vulnerable. Even roads and highways, subject to weather exposure and traffic stresses, are not far behind.
Addressing Cracks and Preventing Deterioration
While efforts are ongoing to improve concrete mix designs and construction practices, it’s nearly impossible to eradicate micro-cracking, or bleedwater tracking, during construction. These become entry points for moisture and contamination. Seeking cost-effective solutions is crucial, especially if the structure has already aged and faces cracking or steel corrosion.
Coatings, silanes, or cementitious patching may seem like potential solutions, but they do not address the underlying issues.
|Preservative works in progress on a bridge in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, in 2018
Enter – Hydrogel Treatments
Concrete hydrogel treatments are water-based nanoparticle catalytic silica colloids.
Yes, that’s quite a mouthful, but what do they really do?
Colloidal silica treatments penetrate the veins of the concrete, utilizing the free lime to form a hydrogel within the matrix.
Importantly, this hydrogel uses up and immobilizes the moisture within the concrete. This has two key effects:
1) Prevents moisture (… and those moisture-borne contaminants …) from entering the concrete.
2) Prevents the movement of moisture within the concrete – arresting the reactivity of the contaminants.
The practical results of this include
- Arresting ASR (alkali silica reactivity)
- Preventing DEF (delayed ettringite formation)
- Arresting corrosion, and protecting the reinforcing zone
- Sealing micro-cracks up to 0.5mm
You can see where this is going. Yes, there is a cost-effective treatment for proactive maintenance of your concrete infrastructure.
IF INCLUDED IN NEW CONSTRUCTION – Hydrogel treatments can enhance curing, minimize cracking, and protect the durability of the structure from the outset.
IF USED FOR REMEDIATION – Hydrogel treatments can penetrate deep into the concrete, sealing against further contamination, and arresting existing reactivity.
If your damage is extensive (spalling or major cracking) then these treatments alone will not suffice, but can still be beneficial in preventing Incipient Anode Formation around cementitious repairs.
Cost Savings and Environmental Friendliness
Proactive maintenance, utilizing concrete hydrogel treatments, not only enhances durability but also reduces major repair costs over time. By intervening early with hydrogel treatments, significant savings can be achieved. Additionally, the treatments are environmentally friendly, making them particularly suitable for sensitive areas, including waterways.
Reach out for more information and assistance!
Want to learn more about how concrete hydrogel treatments can enhance the durability of your concrete infrastructure? Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team is ready to assist!