Investigating Techniques for Sealing Small Cracks in Thick Concrete

Project ID: 2805
Principal Investigator: David Starbuck
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015
Keywords: aging infrastructure, reducing maintenance, better repairs

Research Question

What are effective methods and materials to seal small leaking cracks in thick concrete sections without causing damage to the structure?

Need and Benefit

A large number of Reclamation's water control structures have concrete cracking to some degree. These cracks can be caused by concrete shrinkage, settling of the structure, etc. Water pressure on these cracks leads to leaks. Oftentimes these structures are located below the water table and it is nearly impossible to access both sides of the leaking concrete.

Across Reclamation, these leaks can lead to millions of dollars of increased maintenance costs across numerous facilities, since they corrode metalwork, increase operating costs through increased pumping to remove excess water, reduce worker productivity as they work around the leaks, etc.

Many techniques are available to seal different types of leaking cracks. However, slow leaking cracks in thick concrete sections are very difficult to seal. The research effort would look to identify methods and materials to repair these types of cracks. The current repair method used by industry experts requires holes to be drilled into the concrete for repair, and for these types of leaks, this method has a low success rate. This research will investigate alternative application methods. Including vacuum injection assistance and low viscosity injection materials.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Research Proposal with Partners.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20