New York suffers from a convergence of two factors that accelerate the deterioration of exposed structures such as parking garages and stadiums:
One is the freeze-thaw phenomenon. Water infiltrates cracks and fissures in a masonry or concrete structure, freezes, expands, and increases the size of the crack allowing more water to enter, thus perpetuating the cycle.
The second process, accelerated by our chloride-rich coastal location, is rusting—corrosion of the primary steel structure, as well as ferrous reinforcement and accessories. In the case of parking garages, chlorides are not merely airborne. Roadway de-icing chemicals are carried inside on the undercarriage of cars and trucks, where they melt and disperse onto the deck.
While freeze-thaw occurs only during cold weather, to quote Neil Young, "rust never sleeps.”
But if rust never sleeps, neither does modern technology. As engineers and architects, we are able to specify a variety of restoration techniques and products to combat corrosion. In this instance, we advocate “better living through chemistry.”
Repair products and coatings are constantly being introduced—each with its own purposes, advantages, and limitations. Some emphasize effectiveness or longevity. Others emphasize speed of cure—critical in large parking structures with a single entrance.
SUPERSTRUCTURES is constantly researching the optimum combination of products and techniques for our clients’ projects.
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