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Corrosion initiation and propagation in cracked concrete - a literature review

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Author: Pacheco, J. · Polder, R.
Source:Andrade C.Gulikers J., RILEM Bookseries. Vol 3, 85-93
Identifier: 470350
ISBN: 9789400727021
Keywords: Materials · Buildings and Infrastructure · Built Environment · Building Engineering & Civil Engineering · BM - Building Materials · TS - Technical Sciences


The major degradation mechanism in civil engineering concrete structures is corrosion of reinforcement due to chloride penetration. Corrosion reduces serviceability and safety due to cracking and spalling of concrete and loss of steel cross section. Recently, service life design has moved from prescriptive performance based. The current approach aims at postponing initiation of corrosion until the end of the required service life with a predetermined reliability, based on simplified modelling of transport in uncracked concrete and testing of laboratory samples for chloride diffusion. Real structures under service load contain cracks and execution defects. Cracks are fast transport routes for chloride, but the effect is mitigated by poorly known mechanisms such as self-healing and crack blocking. Current models do not cover the effect of cracks, voids and compaction defects in concrete on chloride transport and corrosion initiation, rendering them less robust than desired. A project is carried out aimed at modelling the influence of cracks on the initiation and propagation of reinforcement corrosion. As the first phase, a literature review was made, which is reported in this paper. © RILEM 2012.