NIST Time|NIST Home|About NIST|Contact NIST

HomeAll Years:AuthorKeywordTitle2005-2010:AuthorKeywordTitle

Predicting the Service Lives of Materials of Construction.

pdf icon Predicting the Service Lives of Materials of Construction. (1213 K)
Frohnsdorff, G. J. C.

Materials for the New Millennium. Proceedings. Materials Engineering Conference, 4th. Volume 1. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). November 10-14, 1996, Washington, DC, American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, NY, Chong, K. P., Editor(s), 38-53 pp, 1996.


construction materials; building technology; concretes; coatings; environment; performance; prediction; probabilistic prediction; reliability; service life standards; sustainable engineering


Reliable predictions of the service lives of new construction materials (and components), or of any construction material or system in a new application, are a continuing need. However, though predictions are essential, present-day service life predictions may merely be unreliable deductions from imperfect knowledge, not based on sound materials science. Among major factors contributing to uncertainties in service life predictions are lack of knowledge about: service conditions, defects and flaws in materials, degradation mechanisms and the kinetics of degradation under likely service conditions, and the appropriate failure criteria; also, in the present state of knowledge, another important factor is the variability in the knowledge and insights of persons responsible for making the predictions. To prepare for a new generation of safe and durable constructed facilities, several actions should be taken. These include: facilitate use of a standard methodology for prediction of service life and provide subsidiary standards to aid application of the parts of the methodology (such as, for example, how to characterize service environments); develop the databases and integrated knowledge systems needed to support service life predictions; and develop guidelines expressing recommended qualifications for those entrused with the responsibility of predicting service lives of construction materials. Some of these developments are already taking place, but they should be expedited.