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Title: Durability of Reinforced Concrete Caisson Parapet Beam Exposed to Mediterranean Seawater after 500 Days

Author(s): Igor Lapiro, Rami Eid, and Konstantin Kovler

Publication: Materials Journal

Volume: 121

Issue: 1

Appears on pages(s): 41-54

Keywords: corrosion; durability; galvanized steel; glass fiber-reinforced bars (GFRP) bars; inhibitor; marine structures

DOI: 10.14359/51740260

Date: 1/1/2024

The penetration of chloride ions causes degradation of reinforcing bars, which directly affects the service life of the element. In this study, four different alternatives for the construction of a reinforced concrete (RC) caisson parapet beam are investigated: conventional RC, the addition of a corrosion inhibitor to concrete, and the use of glass fiber-reinforced bars (GFRP) and galvanized steel instead of steel bars. The durability of the RC element under marine environment was studied based on measurements performed both in-place and in well-controlled laboratory conditions on specimens prepared in the laboratory, as well as specimens taken from the actual structural element. It was concluded that the exposure of fresh concrete to seawater splash has no effect on mechanical properties. In addition, galvanized rods were found to be a less effective protection strategy compared to the other alternatives studied. GFRP bars, however, provide better protection than the other tested alternatives, although chloride ion penetration in these bars was found to be more accelerated in an alkaline environment compared to a chloride environment. In contrast to the prevailing approach, which considers plain concrete and according to which the electrical resistance of the concrete decreases because of chloride penetration, this study found that electrical resistance in the reinforced element is increased due to an increase in the amount of corrosion products formed between steel and concrete if no cracks occur. Furthermore, it was found that the potential measured using the half-cell method in all the alternatives slowly increased with time, as well as the corrosion risk in the three alternatives with reinforcing steel. The remaining question is whether this change of potential is a direct characteristic of the corrosion risk. Therefore, more research in this direction is needed.