Alternative Reinforcement for Concrete in Corrosive Environments
What alternative concrete reinforcement materials exist for use in corrosive environments? Do these materials
offer corrosion resistance without compromising the desired physical properties present in steel reinforcement?
What are the trade-offs for using the more corrosion resistant materials?
Need and Benefit
Concrete is often reinforced with steel for improved tensile mechanical properties.
Reclamation's concrete structures, such as: bridges, buildings, tunnels, and dam walls all contain reinforcing
steel for this added tensile strength. In certain environments this is not an issue, but there are highly corrosive
environments where steel reinforcement is of concern. A primary cause of degradation to steel reinforced
structures is corrosive damage to the embedded rebar.
Steel breaks down when exposed to corrosive agents such as salt and carbonation. Primary causes of
reinforcement corrosion are (i) breakdown of the passive film on the steel by chloride ions and (ii) breakdown of
passivity by reduction of concrete pH, predominantly by reaction with atmospheric carbon dioxide. Increased use
of deicing salts and the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in modern environments from pollution, has
resulted in corrosion of the rebar becoming much more prevalent. Undamaged and chemically unaltered concrete
due to environmental issues is an excellent environment for steel reinforcement. But in situations that are highly
corrosive to reinforced concrete better options need to be explored.
Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.
Bureau of Reclamation Review
The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.
Alternative Reinforcement for Concrete in Corrosive Environments (final, PDF,
By Christine Daniels
Publication completed on September 30, 2016