American Society of Civil Engineers

Stochastic Modeling of Reinforced Concrete Cracking due to Nonuniform Corrosion: FEM-Based Cross-Scale Analysis

by Tongyan Pan, Ph.D., P.E., (corresponding author), M.ASCE, (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering The Catholic Univ. of America 620 Michigan Ave. N.E., Washington, DC 20064 E-mail: and Yang Lu, Ph.D., M.ASCE, (Research Associate, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics Energy Research Building # 223 Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-3511 E-mail:

Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, Vol. 24, No. 6, June 2012, pp. 698-706, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Chloride-induced rebar corrosion is one primary cause of early cracking of reinforced concrete (RC). A model to accurately predict the time before steel corrosion and concrete cracking, with due consideration of the heterogeneous nature of concrete matrix, is highly desired by maintenance engineers. This paper presents the results of a research study directed at developing a stochastic numerical method to model the microstructure of concrete matrix and to predict the service life of RC in three key steps: chemical ingress, steel corrosion, and concrete cracking. The finite-element method (FEM) is employed to model the ingress of multiple chemical species into variably saturated concrete matrix. By using Faraday’s law, rebar corrosion is modeled in a mixed localized—uniform pattern and quantified as a transient displacement boundary condition for subsequent analysis of concrete cracking. The proposed FEM model is validated by using laboratory experiments and applied to predicting the corrosion-induced cracking of an RC bridge deck.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Stochastic models
Reinforced concrete
Finite element method

Author Keywords:
Stochastic modeling
Concrete cracking
Finite-element method
Chloride ingress
Reinforcement corrosion