10962: Post-Casting effects on Concrete Durability

The building and construction industry is an economic entity which is still largely based on traditional procedures and hand craft technologies. In the area of concrete construction, execution procedures and in-situ handling of flowable concrete are still a common practice. However, in terms of concrete durability, both these issues have a significant impact on the actual quality realized and, in case of inadequate workmanship, are almost always responsible for local damage and/or corrosion initiation at the surface of a structural element. When considering the whole phase of concrete execution, the issues of packing and curing are considered to be of paramount importance. Affecting the packing of concrete directly affects the concrete quality from the interior and determines both the distance at which the aggregates are situated to each other and reduces the volume of entrained air embedded in order to end up with an optimized concrete matrix. Vibration techniques are used to improve the concrete compaction and releases these pockets of entrained air captured in the concrete during the casting, while aiming at achieving a more homogenous and durable construction element. On the other hand, curing techniques are basically applied to affect the concrete quality from the exterior using surface treatment agents. Sealing the concrete surface by means of agents secures the surface from undesired moisture release and saves it from associated cracking. Curing agents as well as the concrete compaction techniques are two rudimentary skills that are crucial parts of workmanship. Therefore, emphasis of the current research project is on improving and optimizing these techniques in a way that they lead to a significant improvement of the local internal and external concrete quality and implicitly affecting its durability performance. In terms of the concrete execution process, the internally driven durability issue Compaction technology and the externally driven durability issue Curing performance are classified as Post Casting issues. The developed knowledge for optimized usage of both associated execution related processes will be validated and tested by means of a conceptual prototype.