Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Dam Safety: Technical Problems of Ageing Concrete Dams

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  • Abstract


    Concrete dams age as all man-made structures. Being subject to various external influences and internal reactions their ability to withstand them diminishes with time. Description of these factors are given here. The manifestations of aging signs are cracking, expansion, spalling and scaling of concrete surfaces, change of color and efflorescence, gelatinous discharge, crumbling of concrete masses, in addition to abrasion and cavitation of surfaces. The mechanisms of the actions leading to these damages are described and supported by many examples and case studies. The general conclusion drawn is that nothing can be made to extend the lives of old dam indefinitely, but a lot can be done to elongate their useful service with repair and upgrading works until technical considerations prove them unfeasible or their cost become prohibitive.


    Keywords: Dam Aging, Cracking, Expansion, Spalling, Scaling, Abrasion, Cavitation.