Corrosion is akin to something catching a fire. For a fire to happen, there are three factors that are needed: oxygen, the substance which can catch fire like wood or paper and a source of fire, say a match stick. To prevent a fire, one has to make a barrier between the oxygen and the substance from the source of the fire.
Likewise, three factors required for corrosion are oxygen, moisture or water, and the substance like steel. Corrosion starts only when these three elements get together. So, to prevent corrosion, a barrier has to be created between the oxygen and moisture from the substance. The substance is thus protected from corrosion by isolating it from the oxygen and moisture. Waterproofing is often used for concrete floors. Concrete is alkaline and non-corrosive, but over time, the concrete loses its alkalinity due to acid rain and becomes neutral. Steel corrodes in neutral and acidic environments.
Corrosion caused by lack of or inadequate waterproofing is a major concern and can be quite disastrous. Take for example, the recent incident where the South Florida condo that crashed to the ground this summer, killing nearly 100 people, was filled with corrosion and overcrowded concrete reinforcement, according to a newly released video showing more evidence of the building’s decay.
These days, there are different chemicals and substances that are used to reinforce concrete and steel that will protect building materials from the elements, and help them stand up to the test of time. New methods using nano technologies and polyurea are also making inroads into the domain. In this edition, we try and analyse some of the latest products introduced into the market, and of course, all our regular features and columns as well.