A method using concentrated aqueous solutions of sodium cobaltinitrite and rhodamine B is described which can be used to identify concrete that contains gels formed by the alkali-silica reaction (ASR). These solutions present little health or environmental risk, are readily applied, and rapidly discriminate between two chemically distinct gels; K-rich, Na--K--Ca--Si gels are identified by yellow staining, and alkali-poor, Ca--Si gels are identified by pink staining.
The invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to the Regents of The University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.