Durability of Concrete Under Winter Conditions

Originally published August 1969.
E.G. Swenson

Concrete is a versatile and widely used construction material. Its excellent record of durability is remarkable when one considers the variety of severe exposures to which it is subjected. There are, however, processes that can produce considerable damage if well known precautions are not taken. One of these is deterioration due to frost action.
The critical factor in frost damage, as in most potentially destructive processes involving concrete, is the moisture condition of the material. Only concrete elements subjected to continuous or frequent wetting are susceptible to damage by freeze-thaw cycling. In recent years the frost damage problem has been aggravated by the wide use of de-icing salts. The severest exposures are horizontal areas or any surfaces on or near ground level subjected to both freeze-thaw cycling and de-icing salts while wet.

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