This story was originally published in Concrete Construction.

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Saying we want a 100-year service life on a new infrastructure project is easy, but what does it really mean? The first step, according to Oscar Antommattei, senior concrete engineer and engineering manager with Kiewit Corporation, is to set realistic expectations: Is there any room in that 100 years for repair or maintenance or major rehabilitation? What tools will be used to predict service life?

At a recent ACI chapter meeting in Denver, Antommattei presented the issues involved in designing and constructing concrete structures that can be expected to meet this goal. “The basic fundamentals behind the practices to achieve long-term durability in reinforced concrete structures continue to be the same,” he said, “but our knowledge about the effects of different exposure conditions and degradation mechanisms as well as advances in materials, construction techniques, computer modeling tools, and maintenance practices, continue to change.”

A concrete mix for this kind of durability must meet the specified concrete properties, it must be designed to avoid degradation, and must be resistant to chloride-induced corrosion of the steel. The concrete properties include strength and durability, but, Antommattei noted, it also must have enough workability to be placed and, of course, economics come into play. In most cases, more durability means more cost. Achieving this kind of performance at a cost that the owner can bear becomes a balancing act.

To learn more about designing and building durable infrastructure, and to hear directly from Antommattei and other experts on streamlining projects and increasing productivity and durability, plan to attend the Infrastructure Imperative, a two-day conference that will be held in Cleveland, Nov. 14 and 15. Click here to learn more.

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