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.