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Innovative Corrosion Monitoring of Steel Embedded In Concrete

Premature corrosion of steel encased in concrete is a major concern for engineers and infrastructure managers all over the world. Steel encased in concrete corrodes under the influence of moisture, chlorides, and oxygen in the field environment. This problem is further compounded with the use of deicing salt in the winter months. A low cost and versatile corrosion monitoring technique that uses electrical resistivity sensors developed in this study and commercially available temperature/humidity sensors has been proposed. These sensors are low cost and durable, and can be embedded in concrete members (e.g., beams, columns) during casting. Data from the sensors can be used to infer moisture and chloride ingress during the structure’s service life, and also in evaluating the potential corrosion of embedded steel. This paper presents laboratory and field results obtained using the proposed technique to demonstrate its usefulness. The paper also highlights the simplicity, versatility, and ease of use of this innovative technique. Finally, field results obtained after installing the sensors during bridge rehabilitation work in East Lynn, West Virginia, prove the applicability of this technique in situations where conventional corrosion monitoring techniques cannot be used.

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