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Why do buildings crack?

Series/doc. No Digest Digest 361
Year 1991
Abstract Examines the causes of cracking in buildings and shows, with descriptions and illustrations, the visible results of a wide range of problems. The Digest is a key to other, more specialised, BRE Digests and other publications and does not contain a complete solution to every cracking problem. It aims to broaden the understanding of the factors responsible and increase the likelihood of correct diagnosis and repair. Avoidance of some of the pitfalls will minimise future trouble in new buildings and lead to better design and workmanship.
History Replaces - BRE Digest 75.
Subject(s) Special subject areas
Building failures
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Publisher BRE
Publisher History IHS BRE Press is the publisher for the Building Research Establishment (BRE). Their activities include research, consultancy, training and certification. They publish a range of reports, information papers, guides, digests, and case studies covering all aspects of construction.
Table Of Contents
Extent of movement 2
The effect of movements - how do cracks occur 2
Diagnosis 3
Significance of cracking 3
Illustrated examples 4
Temperatures changes 4
Initial drying out of moisture and wetting and drying 4
Loss of volatiles 5
Freezing and thawing of absorbed water 5
Sub-surface crystallisation of soluble salts 6
Sulphate attack 6
Corrosion or oxidisation of steel 7
Moisture expansion of fired clay products 7
Carbonation 8
Alkali silica reaction 8
Hydration of oxides and unstable clinker aggregates 8
Imposed load effects 9
Foundation movement 9
Vibration 10


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