The service life of buildings and engineering structures covers many decades and sometimes even centuries. During their lifetime the building materials are exposed to natural weathering conditions, to impacts from soils, ground or sea water as well as man-made effects resulting from the use of the structures, e.g. mechanical impacts, release of aggressive agents or extreme temperatures. Their interactions with the building materials result in degradation processes of the building elements. In reinforced concrete, a composite material made of steel reinforcement and concrete, corrosion of the reinforcement can also damage the concrete.
For the most important building materials, i.e. concrete and reinforced concrete, masonry units and silicate ceramics, the most important corrosion reactions are discussed considering the typical exposure conditions in their respective applications, also including basic types of steel corrosion occurring in reinforced concrete structures. The presentation of the corrosive actions also makes reference to the lectures on “Mineral Binders and Ceramics” where considerations for the production of building products and even whole structures were based on the durability characteristics of the materials in relation to the expected exposure conditions.
Recognizing typical material properties that control the resistance of a construction product against degradation mechanisms and understanding of the production of durable products or selection of resistant materials for a particular construction job.