Unsupported browser

For a better experience, please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Technical note: New tests for sulfur compounds

Murray Reid, Transport Research Laboratory. This note was first published in GE’s April 2000 edition. 

Sulfur can occur in soils, rocks and fill materials. The most common forms are sulfates such as gypsum (CaSO,.2H,O) and sulfides such as pyrite (FeS,).High concentrations of sulfate in groundwater can lead to attack on construction materials such as metals and concrete. Mere presence of sulfates may not be the only cause – it can also occur because of oxidation of sulfides during the disturbance resulting from construction activity (Figure 1).

Recent problems with the thaumasite form of sulfate attack on concrete bridge piers were ascribed to oxidation of pyrite in the Lias Clay backfill as a result of exposure during construction. This resulted in an increase in the amount of sulfate available to attack the concrete (Thaumasite Expert Group, 1999).

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.