Q. I am an interior design student and am currently taking a class on building materials and systems. For our final paper and presentation we must find something new in construction. I came across something called PermaTreat (www.ietpower.com) and was wondering what your opinion is on this product and how you think it might affect the industry.

A. The PermaTreat system was developed by Florida-based Innovative Engineering Technologies, which says that it halts both rebar corrosion and alkali-silica reactivity (ASR). According to the company's Web site, it uses a “special chemical formulation of lithium and salt to penetrate deteriorating concrete to permanently halt reinforced steel corrosion and improve the strength and ductility of the concrete to levels higher than original construction.”

The idea of using lithium is not new. But two aspects of the PermaTreat approach make it worth noting. First, the company's patented Vacuum Applied Pressure Injection System (VAPIS) is a unique and important element of the system. The company says it allows precise control of the amount and penetration of the chemicals.

Also, remember that ASR is a chemical reaction in the concrete. It is separate from rebar corrosion, although the cracks that are generated by ASR can allow water into the concrete and lead to rebar rust and corrosion. In that regard, the PermaTreat approach makes sense: It's proposing to deal with the primary problem (ASR cracking) and the secondary problem (rebar corrosion) all at once. And if that works as well as the company says it does, it could be very helpful to the concrete repair industry.

Aggregate Research Industries

Aggregate Research Industries' Web site (www.aaaregatefesearch.com) includes topic-specific forums where forum members can pose questions and respond, creating an interactive discussion group. The first question and answer in this Problem Clinic is based on ARI concrete construction forum postings.