The contemporary 120 W high power diode laser (HPDL) has been successfully used for the first time to fire an enamel glaze onto the ordinary Portland cement (OPC) surface of concrete. The enamel glazes were generated with laser power densities as low as 1 kW/cm2 and at speeds of up to 780 mm/min, yielding a possible maximum coverage rate of 0.34 m2/h. The enamel glazes were typically 750 m in thickness and displayed no discernible microcracks or porosities. Owing to the wettability characteristics of the OPC, it proved necessary to laser treat the OPC surface prior to firing the enamel. Mechanical testing of the HPDL fired enamel glazes revealed that the average rupture strength was 2.8 J, whilst the rupture strength of the untreated OPC surface was some 4.3 J. The average bond strength of the glaze was recorded as 2.4 MPa as opposed to 6.3 MPa for the untreated OPC. The HPDL fired enamel glazes exhibited exceptional wear and corrosion resistance, wearing by only 3.3 mg/cm2 after 8 h and showing no discernible morphological or microstructural changes when exposed to acid, alkali and detergent. In contrast, the untreated OPC surface was attacked almost immediately by the reagents used and was worn by 78 mg/cm2 after 8 h. In addition, the HPDL fired enamel glaze afforded the concrete bulk complete resistance to water absorption. The findings of life assessment testing revealed that the HPDL fired enamel glaze effected an increase in the wear life of the concrete by 4.5 to 52.7 times over an untreated OPC surface, depending on the corrosive environment
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