Concrete Dam Performance and Remedial Measures

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Abstract

Portland cement concrete is inherently durable. Still, some concrete dams may need to be improved because of deficiencies in their design and construction, or as a result of environmental attack. Older dams may suffer from a combination of effects. Common problems include alkali-aggregate reaction, freezing and thawing, leaching, and sulfate attack. Infiltration by aggressive waters may remove essential constituents from the concrete. Soft water moving at a relatively high velocity under pressure may be very detrimental. The extent of deterioration will vary with the composition of the aggregate and that of the cement. Absorptive aggregates may be susceptible to freeze-thaw damage. Where structural cracking has occurred so that water is freely admitted, the effects of leaching and freeze-thaw cycling may be intensified.