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Arching action Bridge engineers face a constant struggle to protect concrete structures from the damage caused by de-icing salts. Margo Cole reports from Great George Street on a new answer to the pro

In the UK there are few alternatives to de-icing salts to stop roads freezing over in winter. But the chloride ions from the salt can penetrate concrete structures and attack the steel reinforcement, leaving engineers with the task of dealing with the consequent spalling through expensive maintenance programmes. Canadian winters are even worse, but three eminent Canadian bridge engineers believe they may have found the solution by omitting the reinforcement altogether.

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