Book Review of 'Concrete Durability', Magazine of Concrete Research, February 2016, pp216

Press/Media: Other


Concrete Durability
Thomas Dyer. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, ISBN 978-0-4155-6475-5,
£60, 431 pp.
Concrete is regarded as a permanent material and is used to make
structures that are meant to last. As a result, the durability of concrete
is an important issue and the subject of this book.
The book is well structured, comprising an introductory chapter followed
by six other chapters with associated subsections covering, initially, the
physical and chemical degradation mechanisms together with the specifics
of steel corrosion in concrete. Having dealt with the science, the author
covers the pragmatics of specification, means of construction and
serviceability, repair and maintenance. In all, this is a comprehensive and
focused treatment of durability.
Ironically, water is required to make a concrete and yet the processes of
decay and degradation are both dependent upon it. Without water and
the consequences of fire, concrete would last for an indefinitely long time.
After the introduction, Chapter 2 covers the causes and consequences of
cracking, and these are dealt with in detail together with freeze–thaw
behaviour and its alleviation along with abrasion and erosion issues
(153 references).
Chapter 3 covers chemical degradation, which in some ways can be
insidious in its complexity. However, the author deals with the range of
interactions from sulfate attack in its various guises to alkali–silica/
carbonate reactions with both informative and visual presentations.
Acid attack, both mineral and organic, is also dealt with in detail
(211 references).
Structural concrete is invariably reinforced with steel, and the steel
wellbeing tends to govern the lasting durability of the concrete. In this
regard, Chapter 4 is important, covering both mechanisms and protective
measures (94 references).
Chapter 5 brings many elements together and deals with putting much
knowledge into practice by way of specification. Issues such as quality,
absorption, the nature of Portland cements, ground granulated blastfurnace
slag, fly ash, silica fume and other material components, together
with recycled materials and admixtures, are dealt with concisely.
How concrete may be specified depending on the exposure conditions is
dealt with diagrammatically, and in a most useful manner (55 references).
It is not enough to know what criteria control performance – it is necessary
to achieve such performance in real structures. To do so requires
techniques that can assist the achievement of durability. Chapter 6 deals
with techniques such as controlled permeability formwork, curing, surface
coatings, sealers, cathodic protection and sacrificial anodes (29 references).
Despite best endeavours, concrete structures do degrade and thus require
maintenance and repair. The final chapter is concerned with serviceability,
covering useful guidance for the appraisal and prognosis of future
deterioration (62 references).
The book is very wide-ranging, touching many aspects of durability and
giving the reader a comprehensive overview. Each specific issue can be
taken further using the extensive references (608 in all). The book is
complemented by a most useful index giving ready access to the book’s
contents. At a price of £60, this book is a treasure trove of information,
and will appeal to all with a genuine interest in the use and versatility of
this amazing material we call concrete.
Peter C. Hewlett

Period1 Feb 2016

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Media coverage

  • TitleConcrete Durability
    Media name/outletPrint
    Media typePrint
    Producer/AuthorP C Hewlett
    PersonsThomas Dyer