What are the purposes of waterproofing in bridge decks?

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Waterproofing materials like membranes are applied on top of bridge deck surface because:

(i) Vehicular traffic (e.g. tanker) may carry dangerous chemicals and the leakage of such chemicals in the absence of waterproofing materials may endanger the life of bridges. The chemicals easily penetrate and cause the deterioration of concrete bridge decks.

(ii) In some countries where very cold weather is frequently encountered, salt may be applied for defrosting purpose. In case waterproofing is not provided, the salt solution penetrates through the concrete cracks of the bridge and causes the corrosion of reinforcement.

(iii) In the event of cracks appearing on concrete deck, water penetrates the bridge deck and brings about steel corrosion.


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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