Investigating Techniques for Sealing Small Leaking Cracks in Thick Concrete Sections

Project ID: 2965
Principal Investigator: David Starbuck
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016 and 2017
Keywords: None

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

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20