chapter  1
28 Pages

Durability and service life

For many years after the introduction of reinforced concrete as a construction material at the end of the nineteenth century, it was considered that concrete structures were built to last without any further maintenance or repair. Since then, however, we have learned that this unfortunately is not the case. Serious degradation mechanisms can severely reduce the service life of concrete structures: steel reinforcement can corrode, cement matrix can be attacked, and even aggregates can show detrimental processes. In many cases, the remaining service life of damaged structures can be upgraded by a combined action of repair and maintenance. However, in some cases demolition and replacement are the only options.