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Concrete Repair Terminology (A)
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Concrete Repair Terminology is prepared by the International Concrete Repair Institute. The cross-referenced terms provide definitions for commonly used words in concrete repair, restoration and protection.

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Revised April 2019

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abrasion damage

surface deterioration caused by rubbing and friction against the surface.


any hard, strong substance, such as rocks, sand, water, or minerals, that will cut, scour, pit, erode, or polish another substance.

abrasive blasting

a process for roughening, cleaning, or finishing a surface by propelling an abrasive medium at high velocity against it; commonly used methods include sandblasting, shotblasting, and high-pressure water blasting.

absorbed moisture


the process by which a liquid is drawn into and tends to fill permeable voids in a porous solid body; also, the increase in mass of a porous solid body resulting from the penetration of a liquid into its permeable voids.


any hard, strong substance, such as rocks, sand, water, or minerals, that will cut, scour, pit, erode, or polish another substance.

accelerated aging

deteriorating a material at a faster-than-normal rate by subjecting the material to specified accelerated test conditions.


acceptance criteria

set of explicit and quantitative rules to determine whether the work meets the performance specified.

acceptance test

a test conducted to determine whether an individual lot of materials conforms to specifications or to determine the degree of uniformity of the material, or both.

acid etching

application of acid to clean or alter a concrete surface; typically used only when no alternative means of surface preparation can be used.

acoustic emission

sounds, both audible and sub audible, that are generated when a material undergoes irreversible changes, such as cracking in concrete; provides the basis for a nondestructive monitoring technique.

acoustic monitoring

a type of nondestructive testing technology whereby transient elastic waves within a material due to localized stress release in a material, or on its surface, are detected and monitored.

acoustic impact

a method used to detect the presence of delaminations or subsurface voids in concrete based on the sounds made by the concrete upon impact. (See also chain drag and sounding.)

acoustic triangularization

identification of the location of an acoustic emission by triangularization from multiple sensors.

acrylic resin


a material that actuates a catalyst.

active crack


a substance added to another in relatively small amounts to impart or improve desirable properties or suppress undesirable properties; any material other than the basic components of a grout system.


a state in which two surfaces are held together through interfacial effects that may consist of molecular forces, interlocking action, or both.

adhesive failure


the group of materials used to cause similar or dissimilar materials to cohere.


a material other than water, aggregates, hydraulic cement, or fiber reinforcement, added to concrete, mortar, or grout, during batching or mixing to enhance plastic or hardened material properties, or both.

admixture, accelerating

an admixture that (1) increases the rate of hydration of the hydraulic cement and thus shortens the time of setting, increases the rate of strength development, or both; (2) any substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction.

admixture, air-entraining

an admixture that creates microscopic air bubbles in concrete, mortar, or cement paste during mixing; used to increase the workability and freeze-thaw resistance of the mixture.

admixture, alkali-aggregate reaction inhibiting

an admixture that reduces expansion caused by alkali-aggregate reaction.

admixture, antiwashout

an admixture that increases the cohesiveness of concrete to be placed under water, thus inhibiting the amount of fines washed away from the aggregates when the concrete comes in contact with water.

admixture, corrosion inhibiting

an admixture that reduces ingress of chlorides or enhances the passivating layer on the surface of steel reinforcement, or both, thus reducing or preventing corrosion.

admixture, retarding

an admixture that decreases the rate of hydration of hydraulic cement and increases the time of setting.

admixture, shrinkage reducing

an admixture that reduces drying shrinkage by reducing the surface tension of water in the pore structure of cement paste.

admixture, viscosity modifying

an admixture that can be used to produce self-leveling concrete that remains cohesive without excessive bleeding, segregation, or abnormal retardation.

admixture, water-reducing

an admixture that either increases workability of freshly mixed mortar or concrete without increasing water content or maintains a given workability with a reduced amount of water.

admixture, water reducing (high-range)

an admixture capable of producing large water reduction or great workability without causing undue set retardation or entrainment of air in mortar or concrete.


development (at the surface of either a liquid or solid) of a higher concentration of a substance than exists in the bulk of the medium; especially formation of one or more layers of molecules of gases, of dissolved substances, or of liquids at the surface of a solid (such as cement, cement paste, or aggregates), or of air-entraining agents at the air-water interfaces; also the process by which a substance is adsorbed. (See also water, adsorbed.)

advancing-slope grouting

age hardening

the progressive change in the chemical and physical properties of an adhesive leading to embrittlement. (See also aging.)


granular material such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, crushed hydraulic-cement concrete, or iron blast-furnace slag which is used with a hydraulic cementing medium or polymer binder to produce either concrete or mortar.

aggregate, coarse

(1) aggregate predominantly retained on the No. 4 (4.75-mm) sieve; or (2) that portion of an aggregate retained on the No. 4 (4.75-mm) sieve.

aggregate, fine

aggregate passing the 3⁄8-in. (9.5-mm) sieve and almost entirely passing the No. 4 (4.75-mm) sieve and predominantly retained on the No. 200 (75-μm) sieve; or (2) that portion of an aggregate passing the No. 4 (4.75-mm) sieve and retained on the No. 200 (75-μm) sieve.

aggregate, gap-graded

aggregate graded so that certain intermediate sizes are substantially absent.

aggregate, reactive

aggregate containing substances capable of reacting with the alkalies in portland cement; products of the reaction may cause abnormal expansion and cracking of concrete or mortar under certain service conditions.

aggregate interlock

the effect of portions of aggregate particles from one side of a joint or crack in concrete protruding into recesses in the other side of the joint or crack so as to transfer load in shear and maintain alignment.


the cumulative effects of time on the properties of materials or substances.


the mixing and homogenization of slurries or finely ground powders by either mechanical means or injection of air.


a device for maintaining plasticity and preventing segregation of mixed grout, mortar, or concrete by shaking or stirring.

agitator tank

a vertical, open-top tank equipped with rotation blades used to prevent segregation of mixed grout.


air, entrained

microscopic air bubbles intentionally incorporated in mortar or concrete during mixing; bubbles are typically spherical with a maximum diameter of 1 mm.

air, entrapped

air voids in concrete that are not purposely entrained and that are larger, mainly irregular in shape, and less useful than those of entrained air; and 1 mm or larger in size.

air barrier

the material (liquid or sheet) that controls air leakage into or out of concrete and masonry wall systems.

air-entraining admixture

air content

the volume of air voids in cement paste, mortar, or concrete, exclusive of pore space in aggregate particles, usually expressed as a percentage of total volume of the paste, mortar, or concrete.

air entrainment

the deliberate addition of microscopic air bubbles (generally smaller than 1 mm) to concrete or mortar during the mixing. (See also admixture, air-entraining.)

air ring

perforated manifold in nozzle of wet-mix shotcrete equipment through which high pressure air is introduced into the material flow.

alignment wire


salts of alkali metals, specifically sodium and potassium, occurring in constituents of concrete and mortar; usually expressed in chemical analyses as the oxides Na2O and K2O.

alkali-aggregate reaction

a chemical reaction between alkalies (sodium and potassium) from portland cement or other sources and certain constituents of some aggregates that can cause abnormal expansion and cracking of concrete or mortar under certain service conditions.

alkali-carbonate rock reaction

the reaction between the alkalies (sodium and potassium) in portland cement and certain carbonate rocks (particularly calcitic dolomite and dolomitic limestones) present in some aggregates.

alkali-silica reaction

the reaction between the alkalies (sodium and potassium) in portland cement and certain siliceous rocks or minerals, such as opaline chert, strained quartz, and acidic volcanic glass, present in some aggregates.


(1) having properties of an alkali; (2) having a pH greater than 7.

alligator cracks


surrounding natural conditions or environment in a given place and time.


capable of changing the kinetics of both cathodic and anodic electrochemical reactions.

ambiodic inhibitor

an inhibitor that suppresses both the cathodic and anodic reactions; also referred to as a mixed inhibitor.

amine blush

surface opalescence (blush) on epoxy films caused by reaction of amine co-reactant with carbon dioxide and water to form an amine carbamate. This can affect adhesion of any subsequent coat if not properly removed.

amino functional

a chemical compound that is characterized by the presence of an amino group as part of its overall structure. (See also amino group.)

amino group

part of a molecule composed of a nitrogen atom with one or two hydrogens.


a term applied to oxides and hydroxides which can act basic toward strong acids and acidic toward strong alkalis; substances which can dissociate electrolytically to produce hydrogen or hydroxyl ions according to conditions.


a metal bolt, stud, threaded rod, or reinforcing steel, either cast in place, grouted in place, or drilled into hardened concrete, used to prevent dislodging of repairs from concrete substrate in the event of a bond failure; to hold various structural members or embedments in the concrete; and to resist shear, tension, and vibration loadings.

anchor, bonded

a post-installed anchor installed in holes drilled into the concrete substrate and embedded with portland cement grout or polymer materials such as polyesters, vinyl esters, or epoxies.

anchor, embedment depth

distance from the member surface to the installed end of the anchor prior to the setting of the anchor.

anchor, expansion

a post-installed anchor designed to be inserted into a predrilled hole and then expanded by tightening a nut, hammering the anchor, or expanding into an undercut in the concrete.


in post-tensioning, a device used to anchor the tendon to the concrete member; in pretensioning, a device used to maintain the elongation of a tendon during the time interval between stressing and release.


any hard, strong substance, such as rocks, sand, water, or minerals, that will cut, scour, pit, erode, or polish another substance.

anchorage zone

in post-tensioning, the region adjacent to the anchorage subjected to secondary stresses resulting from the distribution of the prestressing force; in pretensioning, the region in which the transfer bond stresses are developed.

angle of repose

the angle between the horizontal and the natural slope of loose material below which the material will not slide.


exhibiting different physical properties in different directions.


the electrode of an electrolytic cell at which oxidation is the principal reaction; electrons flow away from the anode in the external circuit and it is usually the electrode where corrosion occurs and metal ions enter solution

anode, sacrificial

chemically active metals such as zinc, aluminum, and magnesium which, when electrically connected to the reinforcing bar, will provide the energy needed to cathodically protect the reinforcing bar; sacrificial anodes deteriorate in service at a rate proportional to the energy needed to protect the reinforcing bar plus whatever may deteriorate by local-action corrosion.

anodic inhibitor

an inhibitor that reduces the corrosion rate by acting on the anodic (oxidation) reaction.

anodic protection

a technique to reduce the corrosion rate of a metal by polarizing it into its passive region where dissolution rates are low.

anodic reaction

corrosion reaction involving dissolution of metal into metal ions with the corresponding release of electrons; also sometimes referred to as oxidation.

anodic ring effect

corrosion process in which the steel reinforcement in concrete surrounding a repair area begins to corrode preferentially to reinforcement in the newly repaired area (sometimes referred to as the halo effect).


a substance which prevents the coagulation of a colloid suspension or emulsion; also called a stabilizer and latex preservative.

antifoaming agent

an additive used to increase surface tension and reduce foaming tendencies, particularly in admixtures and materials applied by roller coating equipment.

antiwashout admixture

application equipment

tools and devices used for mixing, placing, finishing, and curing concrete repair materials. (320.5R-14)

application life

the period of time during which a material, after being mixed with a catalyst or exposed to the atmosphere, remains suitable for application.

application rate

the quantity (mass, volume, or thickness) of material applied per unit area.


a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a long-chain synthetic aromatic polyamide in which is at least 85% amide linkages are attached directly to two aromatic rings.

articulated joint

aspect ratio

the ratio of length to diameter of a fiber.

autogenous healing

a natural process of filling and sealing cracks in concrete or mortar when kept damp.

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