Concrete in Aggressive Aqueous Environments

Toulouse, France

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The conference

RILEM TC 211-PAE “Performance of cement-based materials in aggressive aqueous environments” focuses especially on the problems of concrete and cement-based infrastructure having to operate in aggressive aqueous environments:
• natural environments such as soft or aggressive waters giving rise to concrete leaching
• public health environments with their associated drainage and treatment structures such as sewers, conduits, waste tanks etc
• water supply infrastructure with the provision of dams and canals
• groundwater and other sulphate-bearing solutions
• industrial and marine structures with natural or artificial highly aggressive environments.

In all these cases, concrete is subjected to a process of degradation whereby mass/ionic exchange processes occur leading to a breakdown of the matrix microstructure and a weakening of the material. In some cases this can be extremely rapid and serious, such as in acidic environments, whether industrially or biogenically generated. In other cases degradation occurs over long periods of time, but the scale of the problem is such that the consequences are also severe, e.g. major dams, marine works, etc. Many industrial processes also generate aggressive aqueous solutions some of which can leach or attack concrete. Furthermore with increasing levels of acid rain being experienced worldwide, the ability of concrete to withstand this form of aggressive attack is also important.

This conference will focus on the following topics, in 4 sessions:
• Nature of aggressive aqueous environments including measures of aggressivity; nature of degradation and deterioration mechanisms for different cement-based materials in such aggressive aqueous environments
• Degradation and service life prediction models for concrete structures in such environments and their effectiveness in being universally applicable
• Appropriate test methods to assess performance of cement-based materials in such environments, which can be used to characterise and rate relative performance, as well as to inform long term predictions
• Survey and analysis of the scale of the problem worldwide. Studies of in-situ performance of concrete structures in such environments