Why does concrete crack? Different reasons for Cracking of concrete
Concrete is one of the most widely used construction material in the world. When done the right way, it is the most durable and heavy duty product of construction. It is inexpensive and actually gets stronger with time.
Since the invention of concrete, its strength has incredibly increased mechanically, and its chemical resistance has also increased. As concrete has increased in quality over time, it does not mean that it is immune to cracks. This is one of the main weaknesses of concrete.
There can be many reasons why concrete can crack - mainly it could be one of the following.
1. When the foundation is poured in winter - Concrete foundations which are poured during winter, snowy months or are left unheated in the heavy cold are prone develop more cracks.
2. Cracks due to thermal shrinkage - This happens usually in large structures. Cement hydration produces heat that dissipates over time. The temperature varies and not equally in all parts, which leads to cracking.
3. Cracks due to excess water in the mix - Usually excess water is added so the concrete becomes easy to install. This excess water decreases the strength of the concrete. When the excess water evaporates, it can lead to cracking of the concrete.
4. Rapid drying of concrete - If the concrete is dried too fast; it can lead to cracking later in time.
5. Hydraulic shrinkage cracks - A concrete when left in open air, shrinks during hardening. This happens due to evaporation of water in the concrete. The cracks happen when the shrinking force is greater than the full strength of the concrete.
6. Swelling of concrete can also produce cracks - When the concrete comes in direct contact with the sulphates in the ground, it can cause a chemical reaction with aluminate in the cement to form an expanding substance, which leads to the cracking of the concrete.
7. Not enough strength of concrete - When the concrete made is not of enough strength to support the application, it may simply crack due to lack of strength.
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