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CAUSES, EVALUATION AND REPAIR OF CRACKS IN

CONCRETE
8.0 Provisions in Various Indian & IRS Codes:

8.1 IRS Concrete Bridge Code: 1997

8.1.1 Para 10.2.1 states Cracking of concrete shall not adversely affect the
appearance or durability of the structure. Design crack widths should not
be more than 0.1 mm and 0.25 mm for very severe and mild environment
respectively. No cracking under design load is allowed in PSC girder.
8.1.2 Para 15.9.8.2.1 allows maximum spacing of rebars up to 300mm subject
to crack width calculation and limitation given in Para 10.2.1. However, it
is not desirable to keep rebar spacing more than 150mm towards outer
faces of concrete in each direction in order to avoid shrinkage cracks.
This is provided in para 15.9.9 of the code.

8.2 BS-48, Guidelines for inspection, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of


Concrete Bridges.
8.2.1 Method of recording and reporting of cracks is explained in para 3.6.2.4.
Whenever, cracks are noticed the following should be recorded:
i) Location
ii) Width, depth and length of crack
iii) Type and pattern of crack, viz. longitudinal, transverse,
diagonal vertical and random or map cracking
iv) Whether active or dormant
v) Behavior under live load

While reporting the presence of cracks, the details should be


described by sketches elucidated further by photographs wherever
required for better appreciation. The observation of the earlier
inspection should be referred for the purpose of determining
whether crack propagation is continuing further or cracks are
dormant. Dormant cracks indicate that the causes which led to the
formation of cracks, are no longer existing. Dated tell tales should be
extensively used to monitor the cracks.
8.2.2 Method of measurement of crack width and depth is explained in para
3.6.2.5
For measurement of crack width, a simple small hand-held
microscope having graduated scale marked on the lens known as
crack comparer may be used. Where greater accuracy of
measurement of crack is required, transducer or extensometer or
strain gauges can be used. Depth of crack can be measured either by
Pulse Velocity Technique (ASTM C-597) or by taking cores from
concrete. Continuous monitoring and recording of crack movements
CAUSES, EVALUATION AND REPAIR OF CRACKS IN
CONCRETE
for 24 hours may be required for separating cracks caused due to
temperature effects from that due to load effects.
8.2.3 Table 3.1 given under para 3.6.2.6 shows the possible causes of cracks
on the basis of location and crack pattern for various structural elements.
TABLE 3.1

Struct Location Crack Possible cause


ural pattern/
Eleme
Direction
nt
Soffit End of Longitudin Bursting stress
of span al
Lack of anchorage block
slab
reinforcement
or
girder Alkali-Silica reaction in
concrete
Mid span Longitudin Alkali-Silica reaction in
al concrete
Broken tendons
Transverse Loss of prestress
Excess of live load
Web End of Diagonal Sheer stress
span
Loss of prestress
Longitudin Alkali-Silica reaction in
al concrete
Duct Floatation
Broken tendons
Web Over Vertical Loss of pre-stress
(Cantil support
ever/
Contin
uous
girders
)
Top Mid span Transverse Differential shrinkage
flange
Over Longitudin Alkali-Silica reaction in
(I-
support al concrete
girder
or box Broken tendons
girder Transverse Differential shrinkage
)
Loss of prestress
Excess of live load
CAUSES, EVALUATION AND REPAIR OF CRACKS IN
CONCRETE

Note: The above table is definitely not an exclusive list, however it is a clear
demonstration that cracking in concrete could be due to multiple causes
and before a diagnosis is made more information may be necessary
involving simple monitoring by periodic measurements followed by tests.
8.2.4 Selection of material and process of grouting of cracks has been
explained in para 5.3.3 of BS-48.
The repair techniques generally applicable for the various types of
cracks in concrete are as follows:

( Active Caulking, jacketing, stitching, stressing,


a cracks injection
)

( Dormant Caulking, coatings, dry pack, grouting,


b cracks jacketing, concrete replacement,
) pneumatically applied mortar, thin
resurfacing.

( Crazing Grinding, coatings, sand blasting,


c pneumatically applied mortar.
)

8.3 Indian Railways Bridge Manual


Detailed list of equipments, procedure and precautions for cement and epoxy
grouting has been laid down in para 209.