Researchers develop salt-resistant concrete

Researchers believe they may have found a way to make concrete flooring more resistant to damage from salty water.

In icy weather, tons of salt (sodium chloride) is spread on concrete flooring, roads and walkways to prevent people and vehicles from slipping on ice. Most of the salt is washed away after the cold spell, but some of it is absorbed in the form of salty water and this can cause concrete deterioration and the steel inside it to rust.

Researchers at Brunel University in London have formulated a new mix of concrete that can absorb 64% less water, 90% less salt and is also 42% stronger than standard concrete.

Mazen Al-Khettan of Brunel’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the leader of the research project, said:

“Incorporation of a sodium acetate compound into concrete, at the mixing stage, works on absorbing some of the water to form crystals that line the walls of the pores in the concrete.”

The protective compound in the concrete resists water and salt. This new concrete is effective but its long-term performance needs evaluating before it can be used commercially for concrete flooring and other applications.

The researchers’ first formulations of the concrete reduced the compressive strength of the concrete, but their latest concrete mixes have increased the strength of the concrete beyond that of normal concrete.

Brunel University has published a report in the Journals of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society about how adding anhydrous sodium acetate to concrete protects again harmful de-icing salt.

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