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By R. J. Cope

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3 coupled with a study of localised potential rates of change, although the method cannot indicate the actual corrosion rate. Localised corrosion risk is indicated by ‘whirlpool’ effects, generalised corrosion by more uniformly low potentials. A small hole will probably need to be drilled to enable electrical contact to be made with the reinforcement in the member under examination (this connection is critical, and a self-tapping screw is recommended), and some surface preparation, including wetting, may also be required.

These may be of various sizes and used for compressive strength testing in accordance with BS 1881 Part 120,15 or for tensile testing, determination of static or dynamic modulus of elasticity, density, water absorption, drying shrinkage and wetting expansion tests. Apart from these physical tests, one of the most valuable uses of cores is to provide a visual indication of the internal characteristics of concrete, including aggregate distribution, cracking or honeycombing. Cores also provide convenient samples for petrographic analysis to yield information about aggregate type and characteristics, entrained air content and the presence of deleterious materials, and internal deterioration.

Such reactions are commonly referred to by the term alkali-silica reaction (ASR) in the UK, where in most reported cases the reactive constituents have been found to be present in the fine aggregates, although there have been some cases involving the coarse aggregates. A number of reports have recently been published with a view to minimising the risk of such reaction in new structures, but very little published guidance is at present available concerning testing and diagnosis, although the Cement and Concrete Association is currently preparing a report on this topic.

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