Concrete Tech Saves Cracking Dam

Durable and waterproof concrete is critical to many structures. Such is the case of the Jucazinho Dam in the northeast corner of Brazil, which has been completely renovated and repaired.

The dam was originally completed in 1998 and is 100 meters high and 442 meters wide. It has a reservoir capacity of 86 billion gallons of water, and once provided drinking water to 800,000 people in 15 surrounding municipalities.

Now, the area has gone through a multiple-year drought—the worst in 60 years. This has left the Jucazinho Dam virtually empty. The exposure to drying temperatures and sporadic rain led to water infiltrating the cracks and joints of the concrete structure. This has caused deterioration and partial scaling of the dam’s concrete surfaces.

Thus, in 2013, the government recommended repairing the dam’s concrete walls and drainage galleries. Once the rain does return, a dehydrated structure could easily rupture.

The National Department of Waterworks, a federal agency, worked with Penetron Brazil to come up with a solution. After review of the current concrete walls, a new mixer and spraying pumping systems were selected to ensure an effective spray application and sound adhesion of the enhanced shotcrete and the other surface-applied and injected crystalline treatments.

To seal the cracks and eliminate the surface scaling, the concrete walls were treated with a combination of liquid sealer, mortar, resin injection and admix to improve the concrete performance and waterproof the drainage galleries.

Work began on the dam in January 2017 and now the dam is ready for the water that could potentially fall in April and May. While this is one example, concrete is advancing, helping build and repair existing structures in a way that is both durable and waterproof.

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