Parameters Influencing the Corrosion Protection Service Life of Epoxy Coated Reinforcing Steel in Virginia Bridge Decks
Wheeler, Megan Caroline
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This study is an evaluation of epoxy coated reinforcing steel (ECR) and its ability to effectively provide corrosion protection in reinforced concrete highway bridge decks. An analysis was conducted on 10 bridge decks built in the state of Virginia between the years 1981 and 1995. A total of 141 cores containing either ECR or bare steel were evaluated. A chloride solution was applied to the surface on a weekly cycle (for a total duration of 3.06 years) and a nondestructive electrochemical testing was performed on each core on a monthly cycle. Cores were also inspected for surface cracks, the thermal properties of the epoxy coating, and the concrete conditions at bar depth. The concrete was tested for saturation percentages, diffusion coefficients, and chloride contents, while the epoxy was tested for its glass transition temperature, moisture content, and amount of surface cracking. The results indicate that the best predictor for estimating the times to corrosion initiation and cracking is the amount of chlorides present in the concrete encasing the ECR. The presence of chloride ions will have a determining effect on corrosion regardless of the epoxy coating condition. As a result, it is likely that ECR is not the solution to corrosion prevention and it is recommended that closer attention be given to improving concrete conditions that reduce the diffusion of chloride ions. The conclusion that ECR is an unreliable corrosion prevention method is in agreement with the results of previous studies.
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