Corrosion of Metals in Concrete: Lessons Learned by Examination of Field Failures


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Title: Corrosion of Metals in Concrete: Lessons Learned by Examination of Field Failures

Author(s): Shiv Kumar and Robert Heidersbach

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 100


Appears on pages(s): 1727-1742

Keywords: buildings; bridges (structures); chlorides; concrete durability; corrosion; efflorescence; electron microscopes; evaluation; failure; masonry; reinforcing steels; spectroscopy; General

Date: 4/1/1987

The corrosion of metals in concrete has become a multibillion dollar problem in the United States. Most of the research into the problem has been concerned with highway structures, primarily bridges, exposed to deicing salts and similar chemicals. Corrosion problems in buildings, concrete pipelines, and similar structures are seldom discussed in the open literature. One of the reasons for this is that many of these corrosion problems are associated with privately owned buildings and other structures involved in lawsuits. This paper presents the results of forensic failure analyses on a variety of masonry and concrete structures. Analyses using the scanning electron microscope, the Raman microprobe, and other analytical techniques are presented and compared with the highway-oriented corrosion-in-concrete literature. Instances where corrosion has occurred under conditions not addressed by the highway-structure literature are discussed. The means of preventing or controlling corrosion in existing concrete and masonry structures are also discussed.