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Title: Prestressed Bridges in Adverse Environments

Author(s): V. Nobokshchenov

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 126


Appears on pages(s): 1305-1330

Keywords: bridges; chlorides; concrete cover; corrosion; girders; post tensioning; prestressed concrete; General

Date: 8/1/1991

A survey was conducted of failures of prestressing steel in bridge members exposed to potentially aggressive environments. It appears that the main cause of corrosion of prestressing tendons is the ingress of moisture laden with corrosion-inducing agents. Moisture can make its way to the prestressing steel by penetrating through leaking joints from a deck slab, or by diffusion from the underside of a bridge. Moisture may penetrate through concrete cover, sheathing and grout (or grease in unbonded tendons), as well as through anchorage systems. The rate of penetration of moisture depends primarily on permeability of concrete, type of sheath employed for protection of a tendon, and condition of grout or grease inside the sheath. Brittle fracture of reinforcing steel can occur due to pitting corrosion and/or stress corrosion cracking (SCC). Two types of SCC have been identified in prestressing steel in bridges: hydrogen embrittlement and fatigue corrosion. The rate of corrosion in prestressed concrete components can be minimized by using proper preventive and remedial measures.


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