Defective Homes in Donegal, Ireland: Effect of Exposure Conditions and Concrete Quality on Pyrrhotite Oxidation and Internal Sulfate Attack

Andreas Leemann, Beat Münch, Barbara Lothenbach, Frank Winnefeld, P Dunlop

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Abstract

Thousands of homes in County Donegal, Ireland, built from concrete blocks, are damaged by extensive cracks and crumbling that occur a few years after construction. Only recently, research has shown that pyrrhotite oxidation triggering internal sulfate attack (ISA) is the cause. In this study, samples from the strip foundations, the rising blocks elevating the structure to ground level, the outer and inner leaf of one undamaged reference home and three affected homes are investigated. As these four types of structural components differ by concrete quality, exposure condition or both, their effect on ISA is investigated. All three damaged homes contained pyrrhotite in the aggregates, while it was absent in the reference home. ISA in the foundations is in an initial state. It has progressed further in the rising blocks and is at the most advanced state in the outer leaf. Carbonation limits the effects of ISA in the inner leaf.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalSSRN Electronic Journal
VolumeAvailable at SSRN
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 May 2024

Keywords

  • concrete
  • pyrrhotite
  • internal sulfate attack
  • Microstructure
  • cracking

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