M+P Labs Presents at Engineering Week

Forensic Investigation of Hardened Concrete: Water/Cement Ratio
was presented at Engineers Week 2011 by Julius Bonini, PE and Andrew Smith, PhD, with contributions by Uriel Oko, PhD, PE and Frank Anderson, PE.

The relationship between water and cement content plays a major role in the performance of concrete. Correct water-to-cement ratio (w/c) is critical for sound, crack-free concrete.

The desired proportions are specified in the mix design, however many processing issues from mix design to finishing can influence the final w/c ratio, and the ultimate performance of the as-placed concrete. When problems do occur, it can be difficult to determine forensically the w/c ratio in hardened concrete to help establish the root cause of failure.

This presentation will review the basic chemical reactions in concrete, illustrate problems that occur with improper w/c ratio, and discuss the application and limitations of forensic techniques available to determine w/c ratio in hardened concrete.

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