Types and Causes of Concrete Cracks in Columns

4 Serious Types of Cracks in Concrete Columns

Cracks in Concrete Columns can be a serious issue since it can compromise the structure’s ability to perform the required function during its service life. Cracking in reinforced concrete column may result in strength loss, reduction in service life, and adversely impact aesthetics.

Thus, cracking should not be left unnoticed. Also, understanding of cracking reason is essential to act accordingly. With respect to concrete columns, there are four main types of cracks that you may experience, as will be shown in this article.

Type of Cracks in Concrete Columns

There exist four primary types of cracks that may occur in reinforced concrete columns:

  • Horizontal cracks

A Horizontal crack in reinforced concrete column is usually noticed near the beam-column joint, also, at the column side where tension stresses are large. Horizontal cracking occurs often in columns lacking proper moment resistance capacity; column has less than required steel reinforcement; columns with mis-installed reinforcement. Horizontal cracking happens because of the effects of shear force and direct load and uniaxial bending.

Eventually, horizontal cracks considerably decrease the shear strength of the column, causing a highly increased risk of failure. Thus, it is required to be taken care of ASAP.

Types and Causes of Concrete Cracks in Columns
Figure 1: Horizontal cracks
  • Diagonal cracks

In the case of diagonal crack, reinforced concrete columns develop cracks that encircle the entire face of column at any location along its height. These types of cracks usually happens due to insufficient load carrying strength of the columns, inadequate cross-sectional area of column section and improper reinforcement steel.

Sure, diagonal Cracks significantly compromise the structural soundness and thus it requires careful monitoring.

Types and Causes of Concrete Cracks in Columns
Fig 2: Diagonal cracks
  • Splitting cracks

The splitting cracks in columns are defined as short parallel vertical cracks having non-uniform width. The splitting cracks happen in columns, having inadequate steel reinforcement, and low concrete quality. Splitting cracks starts to appear when concrete reaches its maximum load bearing strength.

The ultimate bearing strength of columns is exceeded when concrete x-section is not enough, steel reinforcement ratio is inadequate or combination of both.

Splitting cracks

  • Corrosion cracks

Corrosion of steel reinforcement is a major cause for deterioration of reinforced concrete structures. When the corrosion of bars develop significantly, it affects the structural serviceability by cracking, or even spalling of the concrete cover, and also impacts the structural safety by decreasing the load-bearing capacity of reinforcement concrete members, which is of great concern.

Corrosion cracks in columns are usually developed along the length of reinforcements. They are usually homogeneous in width and increases in width as the column is ageing.

Cracks in Concrete Columns
Figure 4: Corrosion cracks

References: Common types of cracks in reinforced concrete column

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