Novel Methods for the Detection of Corrosion on Rebar in Concrete

Project ID: 1943
Principal Investigator: Jessica Torrey
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015, 2016 and 2017
Keywords: corrosion, reinforced concrete, sensors

Research Question

This study will partner with researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Oklahoma State University (OSU) to apply novel techniques to the field of non-destructive testing of corrosion of metal in concrete. Researchers will ask:

•Do these techniques have validity in the field of non-destructive, quantitative corrosion testing and structural health monitoring?

Need and Benefit

A 2002 study by NACE International and the Federal Highway Administration estimated that the direct economic impact of corrosion is $276 billion annually in the United States. This includes $22.6 billion annually in direct costs associated with corrosion of infrastructure. It was estimated that 25-30% of this cost could be saved if optimum corrosion management practices were employed. The NACE-FHA report cited "develop advanced life-prediction and performance assessment methods" and "improve corrosion technology through research, development, and implementation" as two of the key areas for prevention of loss due to corrosion. In addition, a 2011 report by the National Research Council titled "Research Opportunities in Corrosion Science and Engineering" cited "Accurate forecasting of remaining service time until major repair, replacement, or overhaul becomes necessary, i.e. corrosion prognosis" as one of four grand challenges in corrosion that federal agencies should prioritize.

This project represents a unique opportunity to have basic and applied researchers working together to develop new testing techniques at a fundamental level, and yet keep the techniques on track for real-world application. The two techniques will be complementary, in that one may be used for condition assessment of existing structures, and the other is well suited for new installations and retrofits of problematic corrosion areas. Reclamation corrosion staff routinely conduct corrosion inspections, and are continually looking for new and improved techniques which assess the condition of reinforcements in concrete and provide information needed to produce O&M plans. The potential advances in sensitivity and location specificity of both techniques would allow Reclamation corrosion specialists to pinpoint problem areas at an earlier stage where corrosion mitigation methods might be used rather than repair or replacement.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

It is anticipated that this research will result in three publications for submission to peer-reviewed journals- one each the microwave NDT and in-situ sensors, and one to compare and contrast those two techniques with traditional potential experiments. This research also has the potential to generate conference presentations for USBR researchers and/or their collaborators. Based on findings, research products may also yield sensing techniques and devices which can be moved towards commercial application.

Based on results, possible tech transfer opportunities from developed techniques will be investigated.

In addition, reports and brochures will be prepared as necessary for the USBR Science and Technology program.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17