An overview of the significance of crack widths on structural adhesion and degradation of cracked concrete

Andre C. Jooste 1Deon Kruger 2

1. Stewart Scott International, Main, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2. University of Johannesburg, Kingsway, Johannesburg 2006, South Africa


One of life’s fundamental truths is that all concrete cracks with a resultant reduction in macro- and micro adhesion properties. Plastic, elastic, creep, shrinkage and thermal strains all contribute to the development of cracks in concrete members. Although these cracks may affect the adhesion integrity and life expectancy of a concrete structure, cracks are not the main cause of structural failure and degradation but play an important role in the propagation of other degradation processes. As will be shown in this paper there are certain myths about cracking that needs to be addressed. A classification of different non-structural cracks is given and the different causes of cracking and their influence on concrete durability are discussed. Attention is given to micro cracking, the repair of cracked sections and the so-called self-healing process of cracks smaller than 1 mm in width. The effect of crack widths on different durability properties is investigated by performing an intensive literature survey. The authors conclude that by means of appropriate design and detailing techniques, cracks can be limited to acceptable levels in terms of structural integrity and aesthetics.


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Presentation: oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2005, Symposium G, by Deon Kruger
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2005

Submitted: 2005-06-13 15:53
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44