Viewing entries tagged
concrete cancer


Concrete Corrosion Problems of Hotels near Marine Environment

Corrosion of reinforcing steel in concrete is a worldwide problem that causes a range of economic, aesthetic and utilization issues. However, if corrosion effects are considered in the design phase and the right decisions are made prior to construction, public-use buildings such as hotels can be built to last and protect against corrosion for 50 and more years.

Regular and planned asset maintenance is vital for reinforced concrete structures. Such maintenance should not be a ‘cosmetic repair’ but rather a proper root cause analysis that must be carried out to identify and understand the actual source of the problem.

Many of the hotels in MENA Region are situated near marine environments that results in rapid occurrence of concrete corrosion.

Usually, the most exposed elements deteriorate first – but the underlying corrosion is unseen. Active corrosion in the steel beneath may take five to 15 years to initiate cracks in the concrete, but much of the corroded reinforcement is not visible.

Corrosion affects all concrete buildings and structures around the world to some extent, with annual costs in the billions to national economies. With hotel assets, corrosion is often an issue of aesthetics and falling concrete where spalling occurs creates public safety risks. Hotel operators do not want scaffolds, cables, and exposed metalwork on display for extended periods of time. The corrosion of steel in concrete is accelerated in harsh environments, especially in coastal, tropical or desert environments where high salt levels or extreme temperatures can accelerate the rate of decay.

Common Causes of Concrete Corrosion

The two most common causes of concrete corrosion are carbonation and chloride (salt attack). In broad terms, when carbonation, chlorides and other aggressive agents penetrate concrete, they initiate corrosion that produces cracking, spalling and weakening of the concrete infrastructure. As reinforcing rods rust the volume of rust product can increase up to six times that of the original steel, thus increasing pressure on the surrounding material, which slowly cracks the concrete. Over the course of many years, the cracks eventually appear on the surface and concrete starts to flake off or spall.

Degradation of reinforcing steel and the subsequent weakening of the concrete occurs from the inside and may be unseen for many years. It is often referred to as “concrete cancer.”

Repair and Prevention

Impressed Current Cathodic Protection

One of the alternative ways to protect assets from corrosion is by deploying a Cathodic Protection System. One type of CP is  impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) which is a technique where a small permanent current is passed through the concrete to the reinforcement in order to virtually stop steel corrosion.

The main benefit of ICCP is that the removal and repair of concrete is vastly reduced, with only the spalled and delaminated concrete requiring repairs.

Once installed, corrosion can be controlled for the long term, eliminating future spalling and deterioration even in severe chloride or carbonation contaminated concrete.

Proper anode system selection is the most vital design consideration for a durable and efficient ICCP system. Incorrect selection and placement of the anode system can result in poor performance and a vastly reduced installation lifetime.



Concrete Cancer

The Middle East is well known for the presence of a very aggressive salty water table that sits barely a few meters below the surface. As we all know, salt and water coupled with heat are the perfect blend to create corrosion nightmare of concrete structures.

Some Facts

Concrete Cancer, often identified by flaking concrete or rust stains, which originate deep within the concrete is a serious problem caused by corroding/rusted reinforcing steel from within the concrete. As steel rusts it can expand up to 7 times its original size causing the surrounding concrete to crack. As the steel pushes the concrete away, more water gets to the steel expediting the process.

The process is generally due to:

·       Presence of large quantities of water and salt

·       The ends of reinforcing being too close to the surface allowing water to seep through concrete and react with the steel

·       Poorly treated reinforcing steel being used in the original pour of the slab

·       Fractures in the concrete allowing water to penetrate the concrete and react with the steel

What do we do?

Spalled concrete can be a safety hazard. Concrete cancer and delaminated concrete should be treated immediately as deferring the treatment will inevitably lead to increased problems into the future.

Similarly, treating the visual aspects such as rendering over the steel are short-term solutions as the rusting process will continue below the surface causing the steel to again displace the concrete and in some cases, rust so badly the steel eventually needs replacement. This approach – we call it the ‘make up’ approach – is aesthetic. In essence, the ugly bits are removed and given a nice clean looking finish, however the underlying problem is very much still present. Within a short time, the area adjacent to the area repaired is cracking and breaking and requires repair. You are back to square one.

The Real Stuff…

The appropriate and effective treatment necessary is cathodic protection – an electrochemical method of arresting corrosion for an extended period of time – ranging from 5 years to 50 years.

Ducorr’s SHIELD™ technology is easy to install into dilapidated atmospherically exposed concrete areas and achieve excellent corrosion protection. The system uses permanent power to provide sustained protection by simply making the corrosion reaction impossible to occur. There’s lots of thermodynamic theory behind, which would be too long for this article – but in essence cathodic protection is the ONLY method that address corrosion at an elemental level eliminating the possibility of any further damage.


The Dubai Water Canal is key infrastructure project that involves the construction of water canal that routes just east of Sheikh Zayed Road to the Jumeirah beach. The canal mainly consists of block wall construction. However, in a minor section of the canal, the construction incorporates a reinforced concrete diaphragm wall. The project specification requires that the reinforcing steel of this diaphragm wall be protected from corrosion using cathodic protection designed and installed by DUCORR.

Contact us to deploy your system now.