Concrete Spalling

Definition - What does Concrete Spalling mean?

Concrete spalling is a type of defect that is normally seen in a concrete slab or a layer of concrete in locations that have colder climates and experience the constant destructive forces of cyclic freezing and thawing (freeze-thaw cycle). The situation is exacerbated when salt or deicing chemicals are used on the concrete surface.

Concrete spalling is also known as concrete scaling.

Corrosionpedia explains Concrete Spalling

A concrete spalling or scaling is a defect that is administered in a hardened concrete structure or blocks situated in colder climates, where the concrete is slowly broken down into small flakes known as spalls from a larger solidified concrete body.

When a concrete structure is exposed to freezing temperatures, the water stored in the capillaries of the concrete solidifies and expands, creating an internal pressure on the top solidified layer. Over time, due to the force applied by freezing and thawing cycles along with the internal pressure of expanded water, the top layer of the concrete tends to chip away leaving pit marks, concrete fragments or spalls.

The threat of concrete spalling can be minimized by preparing the concrete with the appropriate water-cement ratio, air content and a minimum specified compressive strength, and by proper finishing.

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