The Influence of Hydrophobized Concrete on the Corrosion of Rebars


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Title: The Influence of Hydrophobized Concrete on the Corrosion of Rebars

Author(s): R. Fratesi, G. Moriconi, R. Tittarelli and M. Collepardi

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 173


Appears on pages(s): 105-122

Keywords: Admixtures; corrosion, cover; cracking (fracturing); reinforcing steels

Date: 9/1/1997

The influence of silane-based hydrophobic products - used as concrete chemical admixtures - on the corrosion of steel rebars was studied. Reinforced concrete specimens with and without a silane admixture were exposed to seawater or to aqueous solutions of de-icing salts containing chlorides. Sound and uncracked or deliberately pre-cracked concrete specimens were manufactured and cured before the exposure to aggressive environments. In the pre-cracked specimens the concrete crack tip was in contact with the steel reinforcement. The results - in terms of corrosion electrochemical potential, short circuit electric current and visual corrosion observed on the steel reinforcement - were compared with those obtained on the corresponding uncracked specimens. In uncracked specimens any corrosion process was completely blocked independently of the water to cement ratio and concrete cover provided that hydrophobized concrete was used. This effect was due to lack of water penetration, and then of the chloride ingress, through the pores of the hyrophobized cement matrix. In uncracked specimens without the silane admixture, there was corrosion risk when high water to cement ratio and/or thin concrete cover were adopted. On the other hand, corrosion of steel rebars was surprisingly more severe in cracked specimens manufactured by hydrophobized concrete rather than in the corresponding reference concrete specimens without the hydrophobic admixture. These results can be interpreted by admitting that oxygen diffusion -which is needed to feed the corrosion process - can occur directly as a gaseous phase through the open concrete voids in hydrophobized concrete, whereas in concrete without silane oxygen can diffuse much more slowly only through the water filled concrete voids.