Physical Model for Steel Corrosion in Concrete Sea Structures—Theory

by Zdeněk P. Bažant, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 6, Pg. 1137-1153

Document Type: Journal Paper


A physical-mathematical model is developed for concrete exposed to sea water. The model describes: (1)Diffusion of oxygen, chloride ions, and pore water through the concrete cover of reinforcement; (2)ferrous hydroxide near steel surface; (3)the depassivation of steel due to critical chloride ion concentration; (4)the cathodic and anodic electric potentials depending on oxygen and ferrous hydroxide concentrations according to Nernst equation; (5)the polarization of electrodes due to changes in concentration of oxygen and ferrous hydroxide; (6)the flow of electric current through the electrolyte in pores of concrete; (7)the mass sinks or sources of oxygen, ferrous hydroxide, and hydrated red rust electrodes, based on Faraday law; and (8)the rust production rate, based on reaction kinetics. To enable calculations, numerical values of all coefficients are indicated. The theory is completed by formulating the problem as an initial-boundary value problem.

Subject Headings: Steel structures | Hydrologic models | Reinforced concrete | Iron (chemical) | Physical models | Structural models | Corrosion | Concrete

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