Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) is often the cause of debonding and blistering of epoxy coatings; however, the presence of ASR gel doesn’t necessarily mean that it is responsible for any degradation. Near-surface alkali reaction (NSAR) gel has been reported to have much the same effects. Like ASR, it appears as blistering in the low permeability surface coating applied to concrete. Adding to the issue, the lithium compounds used in concrete to prevent ASR produce lithium silicate gel that can also be mistakenly identified as ASR gel. Incorrect identification can lead to the wrong conclusion. In this study, a laboratory replication was conducted using specialized analyses to solve the mystery of a failed floor and uncover the real cause.
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