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Cracks may result from overloading and in very severe cases may affect the full depth and width of a concrete element. The safety factors used during design will accommodate some overload before failure so this type of cracking is extremely rare.
When cracking is found in concrete it is usually confined to the surface of the concrete element. In general the causes can be identified and the surface can be easily repaired. However, if there are signs that any cracking is active then its cause needs to be investigated and remedial measures introduced to remove the cause and repair the concrete to a sound condition.
Acknowledgement: The Concrete Society
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