Deterioration is any adverse change of normal, mechanical, physical, and chemical properties either in the surface or in the body of concrete, generally due to the disintegration of its components. The phenomenon which induces such distress may be associated with one of the phases (e.g. design, construction, or service). The effects of deterioration may or may not be manifested visually. There are three basic visual symptoms of distress in a concrete structure:
- spalling, and
In addition to the deterioration of concrete, the breakdown of other auxiliary materials, such as sealants, coatings, membranes, which form the complex assembly of a structure, should also be considered. Polymeric products often interact with other materials with which they are in contact to form compounds which are devoid of the characteristics of the original.
In the following figure, the different forms of deterioration of a reinforced concrete structure are presented. Degradation agents can be defined as any group of factors that can affect the performance of a building material, component, or system.
Deterioration mechanisms of concrete structures