Concrete’s properties are more complex than those of most materials because not only is concrete a composite material whose constituents have different properties, but its properties depend upon moisture and porosity. Exposure of concrete to elevated temperature affects its mechanical and physical properties. Elements could distort and displace, and, under certain conditions, the concrete surfaces could spall due to the buildup of steam pressure. Because thermally-induced dimensional changes, loss of structural integrity, and release of moisture and gases resulting from the migration of free water could adversely affect plant operations and safety, a complete understanding of the behavior of concrete under long-term elevated-temperature exposure as well as both during and after a thermal excursion resulting from a postulated design-basis accident condition is essential for reliable design evaluations and assessments of nuclear power plant structures. As the properties of concrete change with respect to time and the environment to which it is exposed, an assessment of the effects of concrete aging is also important in performing safety evaluations. The effects of elevated temperature on Portland cement concretes and constituent materials are summarized, design codes and standards identified, and considerations for elevated temperature service noted.

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