(WSVN) – In the wake of the Surfside collapse, structural engineers are pledging to build better, safer buildings, and everything from super-strong concrete to longer-lasting rebar is being tested right here in South Florida. Kevin Ozebek of 7 has the 7 surveys tonight.
We pay a premium to live where we can feel the ocean breeze and hear the waves crashing outside our doors, but building next to salt water and air comes at a price.
Kevin Ozebek: “Are our buildings in South Florida more vulnerable to corrosion?
Atorod Azizinamini, professor of engineering at CRF: “Yes, yes, it’s more vulnerable.”
Atorod Azizinamini of Florida International University and Francisco Presuel-Moreno of Florida Atlantic University are two engineers who focus on corrosion control.
Francisco Presuel-Moreno, professor of engineering at FAU: “We have samples that have been here since the 1990s.”
Outside Francisco’s lab in Dania Beach, he’s got dozens of concrete and rebar samples right here.
Over time, you can see how the air and ocean water take their toll. Once the salt and moisture pass through the porous concrete and reach the rebar, corrosion begins.
Francisco Presuel-Moreno: “The rebar corroded in such a way that the concrete separated.”
Corroded rebar produces chemicals which then degrade the concrete and cause it to crack.
Most rebar is carbonate steel, but Francisco’s experiences show there are better options.
Francisco Presuel-Moreno: “Stainless steel above, carbonated steel below.
Kevin Ozebek: “Now it’s a stark difference here.”
Francisco Presuel-Moreno: “That’s right, yes.”
Unfortunately, stainless steel rebar costs five times as much, although Francisco says concrete mixed with as little water as possible also delays corrosion considerably.
Francisco Presuel-Moreno: “If you have good concrete and you have a thick concrete cover, you can get structures that last 75 to 100 years before corrosion kicks in.”
Atorod Azizinamini: “It’s the most unique way of trying to detect corrosion.”
At the FIU College of Engineering, Atorod is developing a device that analyzes magnetic fields. It can detect corrosion of rebar inside concrete.
Atorod Azizinamini: “When you have lost steel, your magnetic field will change.”
But to fight corrosion in the first place, Atorod is studying this.
Kevin Ozebek: “Doesn’t it look anything like traditional concrete?”
Atorod Azizinamini: “No, it’s not.”
This “super concrete” is mixed with little water, and it is loaded with fine strands of steel.
Kevin Ozebek: “Does it add tremendous strength to the concrete?”
Atorod Azizinamini: “It allows the concrete to bend it without breaking it.”
This “super concrete” is also much less porous, so salt cannot penetrate it easily.
Atorod Azizinamini: “We used it in the bridge industry, but for some reason it didn’t find its way into the construction industry.”
It’s double the price of standard concrete, but Atorod says you need a lot less.
Atorod Azizinamini: “By using this kind of material, we can modernize the building, and the building could be better than the original state.”
Also, it could be used to build only parts of a building, like foundations and balconies, because after witnessing the Surfside tragedy, building better has never been more important.
Atorod Azizinamini: “We need to review our building codes and all our practices and make changes.”
Both engineers say they wish buildings in South Florida were inspected more often, and they say if you notice a crack in your building, don’t hesitate to call in an engineer who specializes in locating the crack. corrosion.
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