Dissertation: Behavior of Concrete in Rivers

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[. . .] Included in this are the kind of concrete use, the cover depth chosen for reinforcement, the overall on-site implementation and managerial practice as well as the intensity and harshness of exposure (Castro et al., 2001).

River atmosphere signifies the atmosphere encircled through the river water. River water is really a complex compound of numerous salts that contains living matter, suspended silt, dissolved gases and rotting organic material as well as other man-made materials ranging from nearby use of fertilizers of underground pollution. The typical salt power of river water is all about 3.5% even though it differs from river to river based upon geological location and the network of seas and oceans they are connected to. However the difficulties posed by nature in such an atmosphere aren't usually obvious. It is not only within the river, rather extended within the network of rivers including the neighborhood of tidal cracks, backwaters and estuaries. Generally, it encompasses all of the region where concrete is moist with sea water and the areas where the wind will carry brine spray which might be so far as 1 km inland (Geymayr, 1980). Concrete structures situated in such an atmosphere will always be exposed to aggressive loadings -- physical, man-made, natural and chemical -- in quality and disposition over their entire period of lifetime.

The physical actions composed of numerous loadings triggered because of cyclic ocean waves, massive tides, sea power, hydrostatic pressure, freeze thaw cycles, weather and temperature gradient etc., get their own independent harmful effects about the uncovered concrete structures (Jochen and Michael, 1997). The chemical actions contain slow decomposition of cement mortar matrix and corrosion from the embedded reinforcement because of the response of numerous salt ions present in abundance in river water (Petrov and Tagnit-Hamou, 2004). The exterior action includes numerous other damages like freezing-thawing, alternate wetting-drying out as well as the mechanical actions like abrasion, brine spray, cyclic drag etc. The interior actions make the degeneration of concrete because of transmission of salt ions into its different degrees of depths. Hence just before the making of any concrete structure in locations that are near the rivers, appropriate steps should automatically be taken to overcome the chance of degeneration of concrete because of chloride, sulfate along with other river salt ion attacks.

With respect to the tidal range, character, extent and mechanism of degeneration process, a strengthened concrete structure uncovered to some marine atmosphere could be split into different zones like the Atmospheric, Splash and/or Tidal zone amongst others. The atmospheric zone may be the upper greater degree stretching upwards in the splash zone. Within this zone, the environment is heavily laden with moisture that contains substantial amounts of salts and gases. Because of temperature differences, infrequencies and varying wave actions, freeze-thaw cycles may exist in some rivers. The splash zone stretches upwards to make up the tidal zone and is easily the most critical area for offshore structures because of erosive effect of continuous brine spray and wave action in combination with the presence of the release of high levels of atmospheric O2 and CO2 quantities. The tidal zone encounters alternate wetting and drying out action in river water and it is regarded as the 2nd most corrosive area. The submerged zone is another important one that can be affected and it is understood to be that zone which lies between the lower levels of the river and across the river bed. The hydrostatic pressure growing with depth may cause rapid transmission of dangerous salt ions in to the concrete and it is regarded as the least corrosive zone because of non-accessibility to O2 and CO2 (Castro et al., 2001).

In Marine

In the majority of the concrete structures, marine or river water, soil that contains sulfate bearing fertilizer, industrial effluents, acidity rain, and ground water could cause chloride and sulfate attack on strengthened concrete (Lee et al., 2005). In aqueous conditions, chloride and sulfate ions penetrate inside the concrete structure and begin the process of a damaging chemical reaction. Consequently, many complex responses occur which ends up in physical and chemical changes inside the concrete (Nanshik, 2005). During these effects, the degeneration of concrete happens in many forms including the fissures, spalling and deterioration of the reinforcement employed (Dehwah, 2002). Permeability is yet another important property for sturdiness of concrete. Inappropriate mixing proportion can lead to permeable concrete that has a tendency to deteriorate in both the river and marine atmosphere, more so in rivers (Sujjavanich, 2005). This really is because of the truth that the hydration items of Tigard cement are more infrequent and inconsistent in the atmosphere where there are a few aggressive salt ion components in the water. Complete knowledge of the components of salt ions in the concrete structure and rebar thus remains and bears great significance for future researches done on the construction sites besides rivers (Ping et al., 1999).

Among the key elements identifying the degeneration of strengthened concrete within the marine atmosphere is off course chloride ingress. Codes and standards have established this as a fact and identified the marine atmosphere as severe with connected needs to properly reinforce the concrete cover, extent of fissures and the quality of the concrete mix used (Overbeek and Van Der Horst, 2006).

Design of Marine Structures' Concrete Elements

Brief historic perspective

During the mid 20th century, there was an excessive use of mild and plain reinforcement of steel used in combination with more yielding deformed steel rods or bars. These bars possess a higher quality bond as well as greater strength which permit better usage of the concrete resulting in more compact concrete in comparison to the plain bar programs in several situations. It was then that the codes encompassed allowable stress designs as helpful tips for a supreme Limit Condition vs. Serviceability Limit Condition approach. This method, coupled with 'better' concrete and steel materials brought more enhanced designs with greater stresses. These greater stresses however also result in bigger strains leading to bigger crack sizes which, in many standards, are limited for aggressive conditions (Castro et al., 2001).

This will not come like a surprise because the 1962 Nederlander concrete code already states that, the greater grade reinforcement steel usage leads to the 'higher stresses as advisable if it's determined that the fissures and cracks don't develop to some width which makes corrosion from the steel possible'. Furthermore, the code also asserts that the plain steel bars having an overall stress of 140 N/mm will normally stick to standard regarding cracks and fissures while deformed bars having a steel stress of 220 N/mm2 won't within aggressive atmospheres (Overbeek and Van Der Horst, 2006).

Chloride transmission models and tests

Considerable efforts have been made previously to create models to calculate chloride ingress speeds. This also include the creation of profiles in concrete because of the diffusion and capillary actions that take place within the concrete -- the second as being a particularly significant mechanism within the tidal, splash and atmospheric zones of marine buildings (Meijers et al., 2003).

These ideas happen to be examined and benchmarked against reality by way of tests in addition to analysis of existing structures such as those analyzed and reported by Rincon et al. (2004) as well as Castro et al. (2001) in their respective studies. Both studies looked into the influence of atmosphere and concrete qualities on the ingress profiles and degree of speeds in comparison with other models.


The sturdiness performance of strengthened concrete structures within the marine and river atmosphere is usually unsatisfactory and must be enhanced. Current approaches of indicating concrete sturdiness aren't always acceptable and might be misleading. The ongoing reliance upon concrete strength being an indicator of potential sturdiness is irrational since additional factors for example binder type and construction practice possess a greater relation to sturdiness performance. A brand new approach is needed to guarantee the sturdiness of marine and river concrete structures -- one that's in a position to evaluate the resistance of concrete in light of the available guidelines and specifications that may be easily implemented on-site in the long run.

In the last decades there's been an emphasis on elevated usage of the capability of materials and also the framework of financially feasible designs with reduced utilization of materials and at the maximum construction speed. The current approach is carried out by concentrating on the best Limit Condition after which checking the look for that Serviceability Limit Condition making certain that it comes to par with the required criteria. It has to be noted here that this may lead to a rise in the reinforcement and essentially an underutilization of the high yielding steel bars.


Castro P., Rincon O.T. de and Pazini E.J., (2001), Interpretation of chloride profiles from concrete exposed to tropical marine environments, Cement and Concrete Research, 31, 529 -- 537. Taken from: Overbeek, J and Van Der Horst. (2006). Revaluation of Concrete Design in Marine Engineering. Delta Marine Consultants.


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Behavior of Concrete in Rivers.  (2011, August 29).  Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/behavior-concrete-rivers/3451731

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