Effect of poor curing conditions and remedies on the durability of steel in concrete
An investigation was undertaken to study the effect of poor curing simulating hot climatic conditions and remedies on the durability of steel in concrete. Three different curing environments were used i.e. (1) Saturated Ca(OH)2 solution at 20oC, (2) Saturated Ca(OH)2 solution at 50oC and (3) Air at 50oC at 30% relative humidity. The third curing condition corresponding to the temperature and relative humidity typical of Middle Eastern Countries. The nature of the hardened cement paste matrix, cured under the above conditions was studied by means of Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry for measuring pore size distribution. The results were represented as total pore volume and initial pore entry diameter. The Scanning Electron Microscope was used to look at morphological changes during hydration, which were compared to the Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry results. X-ray defraction and Differential Thermal Analysis techniques were also employed for looking at any phase transformations. Polymer impregnation was used to reduce the porosity of the hardened cement pastes, especially in the case of the poorly cured samples. Carbonation rates of unimpregnated and impregnated cements were determined. Chloride diffusion studies were also undertaken to establish the effect of polymer impregnation and blending of the cements. Finally the corrosion behaviour of embedded steel bars was determined by the technique of Linear Polarisation. The steel was embedded in both untreated and polymer impregnated hardened cement pastes placed in either a solution containing NaCl or an environmental cabinet which provided carbonation at 40oC and 50% relative humidity.