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Permissible Sulfate Content in Concrete

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Here is a question for all you concrete experts out
there.  I have received some preliminary test results
from concrete specimens taken from the piles of an
existing building.  Results indicate that sulfate
contents range from 0.5% up to 2.5%.  (Not sure if
this is by total weight of specimen or by total weight
of cement).  It was also reported that chunks of
concrete could also be removed by hand at some
locations.

I understand that sulfates reacts with the calcium in
the concrete to slowly degrade the cement matrix.   My
question is, what percentages constitutes a  mild,
moderate, and severe exposure?  Chapter 4 of ACI does
provide maximum permissible chloride contents in
concrete, is there a similar table for sulfates?  Is
there any correlation between sulfate content and
reduced concrete strength (i.e. 5% sulfates equals a
loss of 10% in concrete compressive strength).

If anyone can provide some useful references or
insight into this matter, it would greatly be
appreaciated.

Thanks.

John


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