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e-Mat - Revista de Ciência e Tecnologia de Materiais de Construção Civil Vol. 1, n. 1, p.

1-9, Maio 2004

Concrete repair and rehabilitation: issues and trends Reparo e reabilitação do concreto: aspectos e tendências
Noel. P. Mailvaganam*
National Research Council Canada, Institute for Research in Construction, Building Envelope and Structure,, Ottawa, Canadá
Recebido: 01/11/2002 Aceito: 11/11/2003 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A substantial proportion of today’s construction expenditure is on repair. Such a significant expenditure has influenced the market for repair materials, specialized techniques and services. This is indeed evidenced by the flood of new materials and expert services to address the specific requirements of the repair market. This phenomenal explosion of proprietary products however, has increased the complexity of material selection and heightened the potential for problems to occur. Evaluation by testing and research has not kept pace with development of new products. Thus, products are being used before the design professional can be assured that do indeed fulfill the desired requirements. The important matter in repair and rehabilitation is to establish the nature and severity of the service environment, to properly assess how much degradation has occurred, and to reasonably estimate the intended service life. From these and known relationships of environmental influences on construction materials and procedures, criteria for selection of materials and techniques can be developed to give a repair that will have more than a reasonable probability of success

Atualmente uma parcela considerável dos gastos no setor da construção civil relacionam-se a reparos. Esses gastos significantes influenciaram o mercado quanto aos materiais de reparo, técnicas e serviços. Isso é evidenciado pelo grande número de materiais novos e serviços especializados que respondem a requisitos específicos do mercado de reparos. Esse incremento fenomenal de novos materiais, entretanto, fez com que houvesse uma maior complexidade para a seleção dos materiais e aumento do potencial de ocorrência de problemas. A avaliação por ensaios e pesquisa não desenvolveu-se no mesmo ritmo dos novos produtos. Assim, os produtos estão sendo empregados mesmo antes de suas propriedades terem sido comprovadas e ter-se garantidos que responderão aos requisitos impostos pelos projetistas. Em reparo e reabilitação é importante estabelecer-se a natureza e a severidade do ambiente de exposição para que seja possível aferir-se qual a intensidade da degradação ocorrida e, de forma racional, estimar-se a vida de serviço desejada. A partir do conhecimento desses parâmetros e das influências do meio ambiente no comportamento dos materiais e procedimentos, pode-se desenvolver critérios para a seleção de materiais e técnicas a fim de que o reparo tenha mais do que uma razoável probabilidade de sucesso.
Keywords: Concrete, repair, materials selection, repair techniques. Palavras-chave: Concreto, reparo, seleção de materiais, técnicas de reparo.
∗ End.: Montreal Rd., K1A 0R6, Ottawa, Canadá. Fone 01-613-993-9713 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

e-Mat ISSN 1806-3969 ANTAC – Associação Nacional de Tecnologia do Ambiente Construído

In the past. structural considerations and ease of use in a wide variety of situations are all crucial. the practice was to replace old buildings that had deteriorated or that were no longer suited to their original purpose. The urgent need to repair structures that have failed. Predicting these fluctuations and accommodating them at the design stage is important. technology management and financing. engineers and contractors have been slow to realize these differences. These operating conditions can aggravate or accelerate premature failure of the components in a repair. n. However it is often overlooked probably due to a lack of awareness or understanding. because ambient conditions such as temperature and humidity are less easily controlled in rehabilitation. Seasonal and diurnal fluctuations in outdoor . More recently. Current rehabilitation techniques and practices have been derived largely from those of new construction. Compatibility with the original construction material (called the substrate). the materials used in this case should be less sensitive to those conditions. Deterioration of a material is a complex phenomenon that requires appreciation at the micro-structural level for diffusion of chemical species and at the macro-structural level for cracks and damage. Maio 2004 2 1 Introduction Maintaining and repairing building stock has been a recurring need owing to the natural degradation of materials and structure under the combined effects of loads and environmental factors. p. therefore. In addition it is also important to understand that the durability of the repair is a function not only of the nature of its basic components but is also dependent on how such component and the system as a whole respond to the exposure conditions of the structure. This is reflected in the growing importance of international institutions that are beginning to force changes in how concrete and structural durability are defined and managed [3. Mailvaganam / e-Mat. The result is that all too often the repairs have to be re-done within a short period — an enormously costly exercise [1. many architects and engineers design rehabilitation projects without sufficient knowledge of the materials they specify. 1. These inadequacies apply to both the initial design and repair design processes [4-6]. and the failure to appreciate how a structure will be used and maintained. The relative severity of these factors will vary depending on the use and location of the structure. Designers can make the greatest contribution to minimizing defects and the cost of repair and maintenance. conditions provide variability and direction of the gradients. This fact alone may be responsible for many premature failures. 1. Repair and rehabilitation involve much smaller quantities of materials and. The use of proper procedures in repair and rehabilitation are critical to success.N. They often do not appreciate the meaning and importance of compatibility between repair materials and the substrate [7-10]. There is a high incidence of repair failure and this is probably due to the fact that architects. P. the widespread deterioration of our infrastructure and the high cost of replacement give us no option but to repair and rehabilitate. For instance. components and systems. because they either were not designed to withstand service conditions or were not properly constructed. yet these procedures are not nearly as well defined by codes and standards as those for new construction. determine if deterioration will occur. has made durability the most pressing construction problem of the day. air pressure and vapour pressure gradients. The heterogeneity of the materials combined in an assembly requires an understanding of the interaction of the materials. incorrect selection or specification from the proliferation of alternative building materials.4].2]. and the type of repair material used will. Despite these accepted principles. Concrete repair requires a range of materials with different physical and chemical properties and application techniques. Such causes include unsatisfactory detailing. Vol.2]. electrochemical and 2 Today's Technologies and Issues Concrete structures are an assembly of operating systems that experience temperature. At present this contribution is not as effective as it should because they do not take into account the fact that causes of the problem are often interrelated. new construction and rehabilitation differ from each other in several important respects. including project scale. 1-9. of course. Compatibility is a measure of the matching of physical. chemical. and the concern of many professionals with regard to methods of testing for quality assurance and predicting service life. However. application procedures ordinarily considered in new construction may not be best suited for them [1.

The correct choice and proper use of repair materials is therefore. Mailvaganam / e-Mat. p. 1. .3. It is unclear whether most standards tests are representative of field conditions. and may be inaccessible to work crews using standard construction technology. This operational reality may dominate technical. However. 1. Vol. Thus. Maio 2004 3 dimensional properties between the repair materials and the substrate. The consequence of a mismatch of the moduli by the combination of concrete and epoxy patching materials in a repair is shown in Fig. which affects scheduling and quality control [1]. the designer and prospective user (engineers or contractors) of the materials are not equipped with performance criteria (Table 1) that provide a rational analytical tool for selecting the appropriate materials for a particular repair situation. yet they are often used to determine durability criteria for field use.N. Effects of mismatching elastic modulus (from [17] with permission). Only a holistic approach to research on deterioration will yield effective solutions to durability problems [2. 1. scheduling and logistic considerations governing repair work. Most the laboratory and theoretical studies reported in the literature relate to individual factors influencing the durability of concrete repairs  an approach that exaggerates the importance of the factor in question. Rehabilitation often presents the unique challenge of carrying out the repairs safely and efficiently while keeping the facility open to normal use.8]. the repair location is typically confined or cramped. Often the work must be done at offpeak hours. P. it is no surprise that there is a high failure rate with new technologies and materials. Furthermore. n. 1-9. primarily because of a lack of supporting scientific and field data. a) Load perpendicular to the interface b) Load parallel to the interface Figure 1.5-7]. A more direct means is required for linking the properties of repair materials with quality and performance of what is actually produced in the field [2. But the value of the data produced from this reductionist (study of one variable at a time) approach is rather limited because the behavior of materials in real life is the result of interactions between many variables acting simultaneously. The development of performance standards has not kept pace with the development of materials. critical to the achievement of long service life for repaired structures.

N. with a view to improving overall building performance. As a result. that provides an understanding of a phenomenon or a structure in terms of an integrated whole is required. 1. 1. those that yield the least harmful by-products and generate the least waste. Maio 2004 4 Table 1 General requirements of patch repair materials for compatibility (adapted from Emberson and Mays [7]) Property Shrinkage strain Creep coefficient (for repairs in compression) Creep coefficient (for repairs in tension) Thermal expansion coefficient Modulus of elasticity Poisson’s ratio Tensile strength Fatigue performance Adhesion Porosity and resistivity Chemical reactivity Relationship of repair material (R) to concrete substrate (C) R<C R<C R>C R=C R=C R=C R>C R>C R>C R=C R<C 3 Changes Shaping the Future Among the global forces that are shaping the repair and restoration industry are a shift in the manner that scientific research is carried out on the deterioration process and the evaluation of repair materials. An emerging trend in repair research is the greater emphasis on building systems rather than on individual products. n. and the increased need for performance specifications are all considerations. A holistic approach. The processes of degradation that cause loss of durability are very complex. p. Many experts believe that this paradigm shift in science will greatly influence future research. and to the prediction of service life of structures. control of carbon dioxide emission by improved methods of cement manufacture and use of admixtures to reduce cement contents in concrete and the use of energy saving construction methods. It is now recognized that an over-emphasis on reductionism in science — the belief that all aspects of a complex structure or phenomenon can be fully understood by reducing them to parts — has led to a fragmentation of knowledge and a poor understanding of how materials perform in service [1. These professionals are calling not only for a more holistic approach to concrete durability. but also new approaches to the drafting of specifications and codes. the selection of materials will be governed by their ecological profiles. This will be augmented by the effective use of resources through the recycling of industrial by-products and demolished concrete. as well as a knowledge of how the industry actually operates. A holistic model for deterioration takes into account the effect of both the scientific facts and the experimental knowledge of environmental factors and how they affect each component of the structure. chemically and sometimes biologically with other processes and the environment.2]. Engineers responsible for selection will be expected to exercise social . Mailvaganam / e-Mat. in the future. 1-9. There is a need for manufacturers and suppliers of materials to have a much better background knowledge of the various constraints and requirements imposed on designers. Therefore. A significant challenge for all industries in the 21st century is the conservation of the environment. Each is non-linear in itself and interacts physically. P. Professionals who commission and supervise repairs support this view. The compatibility of these materials in repair systems. simple solutions addressing each process in isolation are inadequate. Vol. The model suggests that to achieve durable repairs it is necessary to consider the factors affecting the design and selection of repair systems as parts of a whole or as components of a composite system [10-13]. The failure of manufacturers' to appreciate site practices is clearly demonstrated by their stipulation of installation procedures that cannot be realistically achieved. the emphasis on the environmental safety aspects of materials.

high durability and low maintenance. Maio 2004 5 responsibility by considering not only engineering properties and cost. There are now a variety of ways available to achieve a given level of performance. This concept is one in which a building code. For example. 1. lighter and more durable is an essential requirement for infrastructure repair. there is an excellent opportunity for the development of specialized highperformance materials and a justification for higher unit material costs in cases where overall project and life cycle costs can be reduced. This will entail the use of materials with good fire-retardant characteristics and innocuous materials free of toxic emissions. which creates considerable pressure to use performance specifications [11. North America and Europe by the year 2005. Concrete durability is becoming the single most important design criterion in new codes in places such as Japan. 1-9. Vol. stipulates only that a design must achieve a certain level of performance or safety but does not prescribe any particular approach [4. the following industry-shaping developments could be in common usage throughout Japan. while at the same time creating new market opportunities and more jobs for the national workforce. this will require a better understanding of the relationship between material composition. Some of the types of materials that will be in demand for repair and renovation projects are: • Engineered materials with high performance.S. benefiting not only the firm utilizing the idea. increase productivity and reduce construction turnaround time. P. 4. A shift in the science of concrete durability from a reductionism approach to a holistic approach is necessary before we can use the test methods and specifications or codes that are truly applicable to the durability of materials in concrete structures. and a reduced sensitivity to site conditions such as storage temperatures and surface condition of the substrate. n. • Products that are easy to use. fast setting and rate of strength development. In the immediate future. such as low-volatility coatings which are safe to handle and do not emit toxic or irritating substances. Transportation Research Board estimates that enhancing the durability of the nation's roads and bridges by a mere one percent will save between 10 billion and 30 billion dollars over a twenty-year period [13]. . Thus. Repair and rehabilitation projects require materials whose characteristics of placement and performance are distinct from those used in the original construction.12]. but also often accelerating the advancement of the entire industry. the U. therefore. The growing importance of health and safety issues will require repair and rehabilitation to upgrade the structure so that it meets current fire codes and indoor air quality requirements. Desired properties will include a capability for high-flow and self-leveling characteristics. As a result of aggressive implementation of the global strategy to use high-performance materials. block co-polymer and highstrength concrete. the construction industry must make every effort to solve the problems that are inherent in the use of current materials and technologies. The use of performance specifications will encourage innovation and will facilitate the linking of laboratory and field data with field performance. materials with structural 4 New Developments Innovation often leads to less expensive options. It is only then that new materials and technologies can be used to achieve effective repair. However.N. • Products that emphasize environmental and safety aspects. for example. Technological innovation thus forms the basis of growth. The market for repair and renovation.12].1 New composite materials The development of new composite materials that are stronger. • Lightweight properties. such as composites. 1. Mailvaganam / e-Mat. • Materials with improved fire safety characteristics with respect to smoke and fume hazards. therefore. macroscopic behavioral properties [14.15]. p. but also ecological friendliness. Australia and Europe. microstructure and physical performance. providing decision-makers with the opportunity to obtain desired objectives at least cost. presents an ideal opportunity for the development and implementation of engineered materials. These are materials whose microstructure has been manipulated to yield particular and often unique.

Vol. Mailvaganam / e-Mat. 1.3 High-performance concrete (HPC) The term high performance concrete refers to concrete mixtures that possess high workability.N. 1-9. If the limitations (such as modulus and creep) of these products prove to be surmountable. they can be more easily handled. For example. Figure 2.2 Non-metallic rebar Plastic reinforcing bars and meshes. New combinations of materials can be translated into new designs to achieve effective repairs that will out-perform other products and procedures on the basis of cost and productivity. 1. viscosity enhancing. are being investigated as replacement for steel reinforcement in applications where corrosion is a major problem. shrinkage reducing and corrosion inhibitors. 4. high strength. offshore platforms. While these composites are more expensive than steel. they have excellent potential as a replacement for reinforcing steel in locations subjected to extreme weather conditions and severe exposure to deicing salt. superplaticizers. Five types of admixtures that are used in specific repair applications are airentraining agents. high dimensional stability and durability. n. p. leading to savings in the labor and facility shut down costs of repair operations. Although some have been used for many years the newer versions address the compatibility issues that stem from the use of a mixture of admixtures in a single concrete mix. 4. as well as carbon. P. aramid or other fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP).4 Special admixtures These are chemicals that modify one or more properties of the concrete. Schematics of column repair with FRP composites . carbon fibre-reinforced polymeric composites are currently being evaluated in the field for use as externally applied reinforcement in the repair of bridges (Fig. This type of concrete finds application in heavily reinforced structural elements in high-rise buildings. Maio 2004 6 Unique combinations of materials offer new and improved performance as compared with each material used alone. 4. 2). The microstructure principles underlying the composition and properties of high performance concrete are related to improved homogeneity particularly in the porous and weak transition zone that exists at the paste-aggregate interface [16]. superspan bridges and heavy duty pavements.

0 1. P.5 4. particularly in ready-mix concrete applications (which account for 65% of the industry) thus making a singular contribution to the enhancement of concrete durability [18]. One of the most exasperating problems when building with concrete is its normal shrinkage cracking. 1.0 0. However. retardation.5-50 nm in diameter.0 3.5 2. Current measures taken to reduce shrinkage cracking have been the use of high range water reducers to attain very low water:cement ratios. parking garages.5 2.0 1. and where the consequences can be serious.5 . and the prevention of cracking and deterioration). The admixtures provide Table. these materials have serious disadvantages — particularly in high volume flyash concrete  that limit their widespread use [17.5 1. primary and secondary containment structures and industrial floors.5 3.5 0. 1-9. marine structures. Mailvaganam / e-Mat. which is added to the concrete mix with the gauge water and dispersed in the concrete during mixing reduces the shrinkage by reducing the surface tension of water in the pores between 2. independent of the time of addition.0 5. n. Admixtures that provide control of the hydration process for extended periods of time for concrete mixed and transported in ready-mix trucks have been developed.0 2. Maio 2004 7 The increased use of special concretes that contain three or more admixtures has increases the potential for alteration of the required airvoid system. The SRA. p.N.55 4.0 2.0 1. the United States. 1. This advantage. New superplasticizers that produce their concrete modification through a delayed release mechanism have now been developed. 2 Dosage of plastic microspheres to produce frost resistant concrete [19] Cement Paste (w+c) in Kg per 1 m3 of concrete <450 450-580 500-550 550-600 >600 Dosage (Kg/m3) of microspheres at W/C of: 0. however. Corrosion inhibitors should provide an important defense against the problem of reinforcement corrosion in repaired structures.5 2. A new liquid admixture called shrinkage reducing admixture (SRA) introduced to the North American market in 1995. corrosion inhibition. which provide more than one modification (for example.5 5. despite of the valuable durability properties they confer.4 1. making such concrete susceptible to freeze/thaw attack. Vol. are bridge decks. Some of the structures where cracks due to drying shrinkage often occur. has not been realized because of the limitations of currently marketed products which provide only short-lived protection to the reinforcement. Newly developed airentraining admixtures based on fatty acids have shown promise by their compatibility with the newer superplasticizers and stability in silica fume containig concrete. Recent advances in cohesion-inducing admixtures have allowed placement of concrete underwater without use of conventional tremies and the design of selfleveling/self-compacting concrete (SL/SC Concrete). This characteristic will enable their widespread use.5 0.18]. where it continues to reduce the surface tension effects that contribute to drying shrinkage. The admixtures are therefore. After the concrete hardens the admixture remains in the pore system.45 1. This will prove advantageous as traffic becomes denser and transit time becomes longer. Current field research is focused on the use of porous particles with preformed bubble reservoirs as air-entraining agents (Table 2). is said to chemically alter the shrinkage mechanism without expansion. Research in progress in Canada. Japan and Europe is directed towards developing multifunction admixtures. the use of expansive admixtures and Type K cements. The new material is superior to the traditional product in that it is not affected by many of the 23 factors that normally affect the air entrainment process [19].

There is a need for radical improvements in technology that alleviate tedium and danger on the job. as annual rehabilitation expenditures increase. integrated and ‘intelligent’ equipment packages that combine testing. 5 Potential for Further Innovation We can speculate about future prospects of the repair industry based on an understanding of current trends in looking at both opportunities and problems. the differences between rehabilitation and new construction have had little impact on productivity. 1. SL/SC concrete is particularly useful in repairs done in an area of limited access. they are important with regard to durability and high performance — the technology-shaping parameters of repair materials. Vol. The highly flowable. For example. and machine bases. is an expensive product and its use is limited to specific highly corrosive environments. dams. The cost viable latex-based materials  used as concrete admixtures  however. high-density materials such as microdefect-free (MDF) cements and densified systems containing ultrafine particles (DSP). Advancements in polymer chemistry and the longer life of polymer-based concretes make them cost-efficient in some applications. what is needed. and runways. 4. design and implementation of repairs to existing structures are more complex than for new construction. research on material degradation obtained from investigations in controlled laboratory conditions must be correlated to the environmental conditions in which the structures . such as in pavement. The emerging infrastructure renewal market is large enough to generate payoffs for private industry research and development. However.N. improving the industry’s productivity. is a change in the manner in which research is conducted. because the volumes involved in rehabilitation work performed has been small. Mailvaganam / e-Mat. needed. evaluation. To date. response to the infrastructure problem would ideally take the form of improvements in the productivity of rehabilitation activities. p. issues of productivity and cost will become more important and the need to recognize the specific constraints associated with rehabilitation will become more evident. the use of polymer concrete will expand to applications such as the repair of spalled concrete in industrial floors. and the resourceconserving products such as belite cements and belite sulfoaluminate cements. and repair of structures. While new developments in materials will address some of the durability problems in construction. predictability and less expensive repairs. Much research to better understand the critical factors affecting the performance  such as the degree of composite action with the substrate to carry loads and accommodate deformation  of repaired structures is therefore. 1-9. n. bridges. These are all expected to play a major role in the future of cement manufacture and utilization [19]. 6 Conclusions The assessment. above all. As more and more architects and engineers realize its costeffectiveness through life-cycle costing of projects. the very strong. durability. the total volume of materials produced by the application of these technologies is not likely to be large. P. 1. where they can reduce repair and maintenance.5 Polymer concrete Where the binding matrix is mainly resinous. These are: cement/chemically bonded ceramics (CBC) of wide-ranging compositions that have properties approximating fired ceramics which have great potential in modern technology. yet stable concrete can spread readily into place and fill the area being repaired without consolidation and without undergoing significant separation [17]. Owing to high cost and special processing problems. mortar and concrete that resist sedimentation and sagging at rest but can be easily mixed. 4. and continuous real-time monitoring (as opposed to accelerated time as produced under laboratory conditions). drains for acid wastes. A creative technology-based. pumped and sprayed. have found more widespread use. However. sewer pipes. Automation and computerization offer several generic types of advances: remotesensing or remote-controlled robots to investigate and repair inaccessible members. removal.6 Novel high-performance cementitious systems Major advances have been made in the development of three advanced cement-based systems. Maio 2004 8 pseudoplastic (viscosity decreasing as shear increases) flow behaviour to slurries.

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