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Initiation of chloride‐induced corrosion of steel in concrete: role of the interfacial zone


This paper provides a brief review of research aimed at characterising the steel–concrete interfacial zone (SCIZ) and its influence on the susceptibility of the metal to pitting corrosion when concrete is exposed to environments that cause ingress of chloride ions accompanied by leaching of hydroxyl ions. For reinforced concrete made from Portland cements, exposed to aqueous solutions of sodium chloride, the buffering effect of solid calcium hydroxide (portlandite) at pH ∼12.6 has been shown to restrain the gradual decline in the hydroxyl ion concentration of the concrete pore solution phase at depths corresponding to the embedded steel. When the concrete is produced under laboratory conditions that are carefully controlled to exclude macroscopic defects from the SCIZ and the steel is cleaned before being embedded, this can lead to observed chloride threshold levels being consistently greater than 1% chloride by mass of cement. The buffering action of cement hydration products formed in the SCIZ is believed to be partly responsible for this high tolerance to chloride‐induced corrosion because it counters the generation of ‘anodic acidity’ that is a necessary condition for stable growth of pits to occur. Translating this behaviour of laboratory specimens to the performance of full‐scale reinforced concrete structures has often proved difficult in the past and there is a need for further research in this area, particularly in relation to the role of non‐traditional cements.

Authors:   Page, C. L.
Journal:   Materials and Corrosion
Year:   2009
Pages:   n/a
DOI:   10.1002/maco.200805278
Publication date:   02-Jun-2009
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