The Important Connection between Concrete Durability and Sustainability

The Important Connection between Concrete Durability and Sustainability

It probably comes as no surprise that more and more people in the building industry are discussing the future of concrete. Given how commonplace concrete is as a construction material in the 21st century, the need to explore ways to make it more durable and sustainable has become an increasingly discussed subject. In a country like Australia, this is particularly pertinent, as our dynamic climates and harsh environmental conditions can typically have negative effects on the quality of particular building materials.

Such factors can include:

  • Our coastal chloride environment which fast-tracks the deterioration of concrete
  • Wildly extreme temperatures at the high and low ends of the spectrum which can result in the cracking and curing of concrete surfaces
  • A restricted quantity of premium quality aggregates that typically lead to the production of lower quality concrete that’s less durable and more susceptible to damage
  • Major saline levels in the air in capital cities

Additionally, the very nature of Australia’s urban and infrastructure development is problematic for the durability of concrete. Carbonation in heavily used built areas such as car parks and tunnels is faster than in less frequented areas, while the use of land for roads and other infrastructure purposes accelerates the deterioration of land around rivers and oceans due largely to the high concentration of acid sulphate in the soils.

So How Can We Get Better?

What can we do to make concrete more durable in order to preserve and indeed improve the sustainability of our built up environments in the future? The consensus is that we’re making an effort, however we could be doing more.

We can certainly apply the most current proven strategies such as adding a hi-tech admixture like Tech-Dry’s Admixture for concrete masonry. This specially formulated mixture helps to minimise the movement of moisture in concrete, which can otherwise speed up deterioration. Admixtures can also help to heal cracks in concrete, thus prolonging longevity further.

By improving the quality and durability of concrete now, we can enjoy the economic, social and environmental benefits that come from reduced maintenance needs for our built-up concrete environments in the future.

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