Publication: Corrosion of Steel Rebars in Anoxic Environments. Part II: Pit Growth Rate and Mechanical Strength
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Reinforced concrete may corrode in anoxic environments such as offshore structures. Under such conditions the reinforcement fails to passivate completely, irrespective of chloride content, and the corrosion taking place locally induces the growth of discrete pits. This study characterised such pits and simulated their growth from experimentally determined electrochemical parameters. Pit morphology was assessed with an optical profilometer. A finite element model was developed to simulate pit growth based on electrochemical parameters for different cathode areas. The model was able to predict long-term pit growth by deformed geometry set up. Simulations showed that pit growth-related corrosion tends to maximise as cathode area declines, which lower the pitting factor. The mechanical strength developed by the passive and prestressed rebar throughout its service life was also estimated. Passive rebar strength may drop by nearly 20% over 100 years, whilst in the presence of cracking from the base of the pit steel strength may decline by over 40%.