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What are the functions of coating on concrete?

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In designing protective coating on concrete structures, stoppage of water ingress through the coating is normally required. Since chloride ions often diffuse into concrete in solution and cause deterioration of concrete structures, the prevention of water transmission into the coating certainly helps to protect the concrete structure. However, if water gets behind the coating from some means and becomes trapped, its effect may not be desirable. Firstly, vapour pressure would be developed behind the surface treatment and this leads to the loss of adhesion and the eventual peeling off of the coating. Moreover, the water creates a suitable environment for mould growth on concrete surface.

In fact, the surface treatment should be so selected that it is impermeable to liquid water but it is permeable to water vapour. This “breathing” function enhances the concrete to lose moisture through evaporation and reject the uptake of water during wet periods.

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This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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