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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

CONCRETE DURABILITY ISSUES IN THE PERSIAN GULF


Dr. Mohammad Shekarchi Professor at the Construction Materials Institute University of Tehran Tehran IRAN Engr. Farid Moradi Graduate Student at the Construction Materials Institute University of Tehran Tehran IRAN ABSTRACT: The Persian Gulf is one of the most aggressive exposure conditions for the durability of reinforced concrete structures in the world. In this region, chloride diffusion and chloride induced reinforcement corrosion usually leads to a reduced service life of concrete structures, which consequently affects the overall economy of the Persian Gulf States. This paper presents a summary of the state of durability of concrete structures, and repair of affected structures in the Gulf region. Durability and service life based design is one of the best methods to improve performance of reinforced concrete in a harsh environment. DuraPGulf is a relatively new service-life design model. It provides a realistic prediction of corrosion initiation for reinforced concrete structures in the Persian Gulf region. The development of the model and its calibration is described.

1.

INTRODUCTION

Concrete is the most used construction material in the Gulf States. This material is more durable against severe conditions compared to other construction materials. However, due to the use of unsuitable components, poor workmanship, lack of curing, and lack of knowledge about the mechanism of deterioration, many structures (predominately those exposed to aggressive environments) show early deterioration. The Persian Gulf region has a very severe exposure condition for reinforced concrete when compared to other marine environments. In the last couple of decades, the region has experienced significant growth in construction (e.g., industrial and urban construction). Most of this construction uses reinforced concrete. Many structures are showing signs of durability governed distress. Lack of understanding of durability factors in the initial design and construction is the prime cause [1]. 357

CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

The synergistic effects of physical and chemical mechanisms (e.g., corrosion of steel rebar, sulfate attack, carbonation of concrete, crystallization pressure of salts in pores, hydraulic overload, etc.) have contributed to the deterioration of concrete structures in the Gulf. In addition to these factors, climatic factors that involve large fluctuations in temperature and humidity affect concrete durability in the Persian Gulf states. Extreme temperature and relative humidity with daily and monthly variation intensify some mechanisms of deterioration. The Iranian coast is one of the most unknown coastal stretches of the world. Even if Iranian scientists have explored it, the results of the exploration are hardly accessible. It is probably not because of a lack of studies but rather a lack of publications resulting from the studies [2]. For this reason, this paper describes the geographic, climatic, and other specifications of the Persian Gulf region that affect the durability of reinforced concrete structures. The development and calibration of the DuraPGulf model, which is a service-life prediction model, is described. The research programs on the performance of reinforced concrete in the gulf region have been performed by the Construction Materials Institute (CMI) at the University of Tehran since 2002.

2.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS PERSIAN GULF

The Persian Gulf is a semi-enclosed sea only connected through the narrow Strait of Hormoz to the Oman Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Gulf is 990 km long and has a mean depth of 31 m. The tides occur in the Gulf diurnally and semi-diurnally with a tidal range of 2-4 m at the northern Persian Gulf and 1-2 m at the rest [3]. A comparison of the ionic concentration of the gulf and other seas shows the higher salinity of the Gulf water; on average it is around 38.9 g/lit [4]. Due to this tide cycle, many chemicals are emitted into the sea, which increases contamination, salinity, and temperature of the Gulf water. These emissions cause damage to the ecosystem, and industrial structures run the risk of being adversely effected. Hot-dry, hot-humid, and salty environments present a challenge to reinforced concrete construction in the Persian Gulf. For concrete structures located in a warm climate, the high ambient temperature is an aggravating factor because heat is a driving energy source that accelerates both the onset and the progress of the deterioration mechanisms. The classical law connecting heat and the rate of chemical reactions states that for each increase of ten degrees Celsius in temperature, the rate of chemical reactions is doubled [5]. The climate is tropical at the eastern Iranian coast, in Qatar, and in the United Arab Emirates. Along the remaining coast, there is a subtropical climate. Temperatures can vary by as much as 30C, and the relative humidity may range from 40 to 95% during a typical summer day. The minimum to maximum temperature range is from 3 to 50C, and the relative 358

CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

humidity may be as high as 95% or as low as 5%. The combination of these values result in exposure conditions that are very detrimental to concrete materials, members and structures. These exposures cause damage due to thermal and mechanical stresses [1].

3.

CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION IN THE PERSIAN GULF REGION?

The Persian Gulf is self-explanatory, and hot weather is an inherent part of the region. It is an aggressive environment for both fresh and hardened concrete. Experiences have shown that despite the aggressive effect of hot weather, the low quality of concrete construction, unskilled labor, and lack of proper supervision in the hot climate have also been main reasons for the poor performance of concrete structures in Persian Gulf states. Also phenomena that propagate the micro and macro crack (e.g., drying and plastic shrinkage, creep, impact of overloads, etc.) have led to a reduction in both the strength and durability of structures in the harsh environment of the Gulf. Cracks are a direct pathway for the penetration of ions into concrete. It is important to consider the permeability of concrete when assessing the durability of the material as well as the structural member. Reinforcement corrosion is the main cause of concrete deterioration in marine environments. Chloride, which is the most common ion in seawater, penetrates into the bulk of concrete and degrades the alkali protective layer of reinforcement, with the result that the embedded steel starts to corrode and produce rust, which is massive as compared with steel. The rusted steel creates interior tensile stress and expands by up to seven times the original volume, which leads to the cracking and spalling of concrete covers [6]. Due to the above phenomenon, many structures suffered damage only 510 years after construction. These structures were built in the 1990s, (e.g., Folad Jetty in the Persian Gulf, Bandar-Abbas Port, Iran), and portions of these structures have essentially become nonfunctional. In an effort to repair and retrofit some of these structures, many new materials (such as mineral and chemical admixtures) were used in the concrete mixtures for repairs. These were used to improve the properties of fresh and hardened concrete. Although these additives helped in improving the properties of fresh and hardened concrete, because of the mismatch between the existing concrete and the repairing concrete, these accelerated the deterioration of concrete structures instead of improving the potential problems. For example, silicafume, as a super-pozzolanic admixture, decreases the bleeding of fresh concrete, which increases the probability of plastic shrinkage, which induces early crack of concrete, etc.

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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

The above experience does not mean that admixtures should not be used in concrete mixtures used for repairing or retrofitting. This implies that care should be taken to better understand the chemical compatibility between the admixtures and the cement type of the concrete mixtures being developed for the repair concrete and existing concrete. The development of new guides with instructions and updating of the existing guides has improved the efficiency of the admixtures used for repair work. For example, if modified concrete with additional silica-fume cures well, it will have a positive effect on the corrosion of steel in concrete by increasing the electrical resistivity [7, 8]. Engineering codes of practice (e.g., Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA-1984) [9] in the UK, Building and Housing Research Center (BHRC-2006) [10] in Iran, and Saudi Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO-1994) [11]) have compiled some specifications for durable concrete. These codes reduce chloride diffusion in the marine structures that have built around the Gulf region. Table 1 presents specifications for durable concrete in the Gulf region. Table 1 Specifications for durable concrete in the Gulf region

Construction considerations include cooling the concrete with chilled water and ice, not placing concrete on hot and windy days when humidity levels are low, are other criteria for hot weather concreting. Utilizing guides for hot weather concreting have significantly improved the quality and performance of concrete structures in the Gulf region. With the aging of concrete structures reaching the end of their service life, maintenance and repair are important to increase the serviceability of the structures. Repair and rehabilitation of deteriorated concrete structures are essential not only to utilize them for their intended service life but also to assure the safety and serviceability of the associated components [12]. Figure 3.1 shows schematically the factors that affect the compatibility of concrete substrate and repair materials [13]. 360

CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

Figure 3.1

Factors affecting the durability of concrete repairs.

Usually repair mortars applied to hardened concrete substrates have a tendency to shrink on drying. Because of the restraint provided by the substrate at the interface and/or the periphery of an enclosed patch repair, drying shrinkage cannot proceed freely, and may lead to cracking, spalling and even premature failure of repaired surfaces. It is an example for incompatibility between both materials. Incompatibility between the hardened concrete and repair material, contrary to improving structural affairs, intensifies premature deterioration and leads to early deterioration. A case study was undertaken collect information on the damaging effects of poor repair methods and materials. 4. CASE STUDY

This case study examined the damaging effects of poor repair methods and materials. Repairs are usually undertaken to improve the condition of the existing structure and increase the useful service life of the facility. The results of the case study showed that poor performance of the parent concrete and incompatibility of repair material with the concrete substrate accelerated the deterioration of the repaired structure. For this case study, Jetty No. 2 of petrochemical company of Bandar-e Imam, located on the northwestern coast of the Persian Gulf in a semi-closed region of Khowr-e Musa, was selected. This is a reinforced concrete marine structure that was constructed in 1976. After 15 years the structure started showing signs of distress and major deterioration. The severe 361

CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

environmental conditions, hot-dry climate of the region, lack of periodic maintenance, and lack of knowledge about the deterioration mechanism contributed to the distress and deterioration of the structure. At the time of the design and construction of this structure, the parameters affecting the long term durability of concrete in the hot weather of the Gulf (e.g., limiting the maximum w/cm ratio, influence of admixtures, chemical compatibility between the admixtures and the cement, use of accelerators like chloride calcium) were not well understood. Repair work was undertaken some 15 years ago without proper attention to compatibility between repair materials and the existing concrete substrate. Unfortunately, no documentation or data was logged for the repair work. Figure 4.1 shows some examples of distress resulting from the incompatibility of the repair methods with the concrete substrate. The patterns of cracking, spalling, and other deterioration demonstrated that there were damaging mechanisms in progress. These could be attributed to the chemical, physical, and electrochemical incompatibilities of the repair material (e.g., longitudinal cracks that are evidence ofcorrosion of steel bars and/or drying shrinkage of repair materials, debonding of interfacial surfaces between repair parts and concrete of the structure, efflorescence of repair material, incipient anodes, etc.) and the existing concrete substrate surfaces. This case study demonstrates that although repairs are conducted intending to mitigate deterioration and increase the remaining service life of the facility, if not done carefully and properly with attention to details regarding the compatibility of materials, the repair itself could contribute to the acceleration of distress and deterioration of the structure. Furthermore, it is essential that all documentation and data on repair materials and methods of repair work be carefully recorded and maintained for future reference.

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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

(a)

(b)

(c)
Figure 4.1 (a) Longitudinal cracking on a repaired surface; (b) Efflorescence of repair material; (c) Debonding of repair material and substrate concrete.

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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

For the case study structure in particular, another consideration that did not receive attention was the difference in the quality of the precast and in-situ concrete in the structure. Figure 4.2 shows two chloride profiles, one for an in-situ beam in the structure and the other for a precast girder in the structure. These profiles were taken at the same age. The chloride levels in the beam are much higher than the chloride levels in the girder. Data from the construction time showed that proper curing and extended aging of the concrete in the girder before first exposure to the severe environment resulted in the low chloride contents as compared to the beam member in the structure. This shows the importance of proper curing and aging of concrete prior to exposure to severe environmental conditions.

Figure 4.2

Comparison of chloride profiles between an in-situ beam and a precast girder in the same structure.

5.

DESIGN FOR DURABILITY AND SERVICE LIFE

Rresearch at the Construction Materials Institute (CMI) at the University of Tehran has shown that the minimum durability requirements in current concrete codes are not enough to ensure the long-term performance of concrete structures in marine environments with hot weather climate conditions like those of the Gulf. Design of reinforced concrete structures without considering performance and durability under severe environmental conditions is likely to lead to deterioration of the structures during their service life. Traditional methods of structural design are based on the strength of the structure and do not include interactions with environmental factors. This interaction is essential for the 364

CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

coastal structures of the Gulf region. Not considering concrete cover cracks and their effect on the durability of concrete limits the treatment of durability to only the environmental factors. Fortunately, effort is now being focused on Durability and Service Life Based Design methods. These consider durability as one of the limit states in the design of concrete structures. Durability and Service Life Based Design is a performance based design that takes into account the probabilistic nature of the environmental aggressiveness, the degradation mechanisms, and the material properties in the finished structure. This design process can be divided into eight stages that can be summarized as: required performance, defense strategy, maintenance strategy, design, construction, maintenance plan, use, and maintenance [14]. Service life prediction is currently an area of significant international research, and there are a number of different definitions published for the term service life. Degree of reliability of the structure for its intended service is the key component in defining service life. Figure 5.1 describes definition of service life schematically.

Figure 5.1

Schematic explanation of the service life of a structure.

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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

Computer based models have been developed to predict the service life of concrete structures exposed to chloride attacks like marine environments and/or deicing salts for road structures (e.g., bridges). Examples of computer based service-life models for concrete structures include Life365, DuraNet, and DuraCrete. These models predict service life based on a study on chloride corrosion in North American and European coastal regions and/or exposure of structures to deicing salts. Before the 2000s, there were no computer-based models to predict service life in the Persian Gulf region. This was largely due to a lack of data for modeling concrete durability and chloride diffusion in the climatic conditions of the Persian Gulf region. The Durability of Reinforced Concrete Structures in the Persian Gulf Region (DuraPGulf) model [15] was developed as a first model for service life of concrete structures in the Gulf region. This model was developed at the Construction Materials Institute (CMI) at the University of Tehran. For the calibration of this computerized model, data on chloride diffusion in the climatic conditions of the Persian Gulf region was collected by carefully controlled experimentation. For the collection of data, a comprehensive and complete set of field experiments were conducted under actual field and exposure conditions. The objective was to collect data to study the effects of different parameters such as the water to cement ratio, Pozzolanic materials (e.g., silica-fume) content, curing conditions, exposure conditions, environmental temperature, and surface coating on chloride diffusion.

6.

COMPUTER BASED MODEL - DuraPGulf

For the collection of data for the model, 120 prism specimens measuring 151560 cm were exposed to the marine environment of Bandar-Abbas city, which has one of harshest exposure environments for the durability of concrete in the Persian Gulf. The specimens were tested after 3, 9, and 36 months of exposure and will be tested after 80 months of exposure. The test specimens have been placed in five different exposure conditions: (1) atmospheric, (2) buried, (3) submerged, (4) tidal, and (5) splash zone (Figure 6.1).

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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

Figure 6.1

Samples are exposed in several zones: (a) atmospheric, (b) buried, (c) tidal, (d) submerged, (e) splash.

The mixture proportions for the concrete used in the Iranian Gulf coast region were designed to cover a wide range of construction applications. To study the effect of curing period on the durability, test specimens were cured for 0, 3, 7, and 28 days and then exposed to the severe exposure conditions. 367

CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

Crank's solution of Fick's second law [16], which is the best definition for the diffusion of chloride ions, has been used to fit close correlation curves to the data, which measured the chloride concentration in bulk concrete. This model uses the Moving Least Squares method (MLS) as a statistical method for data regression to predict the chloride diffusion coefficient (Dc) and surface chloride content (Cs) for new cases, with the result that it will be able predict the service life of a reinforced concrete structure. Figure 6.2 shows the homepage of the software. This software takes into account the effects of structure properties (e.g., water to cement ratio, cover thickness, etc), site conditions including the temperature and humidity profile, exposure conditions, curing period, and type of coatings by allowing the user to input the data regarding these variables. The output from the computerized model includes time of corrosion initiation, variations in chloride profiles during the predicted service life, and/or recommendations for required structural properties for the design service life of the structure being analyzed. The service life of a concrete structure in a marine environment consists of two definite stages, the initiation period and the propagation period [17]. Modeling and research on the propagation period is a time-consuming process as it has a complex formulation and is influenced by the nature of concrete cracking in the field condition. For this reason, most research on the prediction of service life has focused on the initiation period. The DuraPGulf model also is also limited to prediction of the initiation period of service life without considering the propagation period. After the initial calibration of the model is complete and is found to be satisfactory, future work at the Construction Institute at the University of Tehran will attempt to model and include the propagation period stage.

Figure 6.2

Homepage of the DuraPGulf model.

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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan

Dr. M. Shekarchi and Engr. F. Moradi

7.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The durability of reinforced concrete is one of the main challenges for the construction industry in coastal areas of the Persian Gulf. This region has hot weather and severe exposure conditions, and is one of the harshest environments as compared to other marine environments. Rapid deterioration of newly constructed structures has initiated a focus on the durability-based design of concrete structures. The time and money invested in repairs on concrete structures in the Gulf Region is very heavy and thus more effort is now being expended on the design and construction of new structures that are based on durability considerations that take into account the harsh environmental conditions of the Gulf. The DuraPGulf Model has been developed based on the local data on this environment, and is anticipated to help engineers to design reinforced concrete structures with a better understanding of the expected durability performance. It is expected that the DuraPGulf Model will continue to be improved as more experience is gained through its use and the observed field performance of the structures over their immediate service life. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors would like to acknowledge the technical and financial support of Construction Materials Institute (CMI) at the University of Tehran, the Ports and Shipping Organization of Iran, and the Management and Planning Organization of Iran. REFERENCES
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CBM-CI International Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

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