It has been suggested that the expansive serpentinization of olivine can occur in concretes which contain ultrabasic aggregates. This process could lead to the deterioration of concretes and has been blamed for the poor performance of some concretes in the Middle East. This paper reviews the petrology of serpentinite-bearing concretes and mortars made with aggregates collected in the United Arab Emirates. It shows that most, if not all, of the deleterious changes observed in the field can be explained by other mechanisms involving contaminant lithologies and factors not connected with the aggregates; and that olivine has remained unaltered in concretes of up to 40 years in age.

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