|A two-year research project to help overcome the problems of corrosion in concrete in the UK, has started its programme of work.
Led by TREND 2000 Ltd, a team of specialists from BRE, John Broomfield Consultancy and Risk Review Ltd have been awarded a £350,000 contract by DTI under the Degradation of Materials in Aggressive Environments Programme.
Corrosion of the reinforcing steel in concrete structures such as motorway bridges, buildings and marine installations is costing the UK an estimated £550m per year. Many of these structures continue to require extensive maintenance or replacement.
Engineers need better techniques for assessing when maintenance is required, and when a structure must be replaced. In addition, while there are several techniques for reducing the likelihood of corrosion in new concrete structures, it is often difficult to make the correct choice of protection a problem exacerbated by a lack of appropriate best practice guidance from within the industry.
This project aims to:
- establish the key issues in measuring and controlling corrosion in concrete
- evaluate methods for predicting the performance of reinforcement and concrete degradation
- evaluate of a range of protection strategies for new build structures
- evaluate a range of protection strategies for maintenance and repair of existing structures.
The results will be used to develop new and validated industry guidance documents. These recommendations will be made available to the grass roots of the industry, as well as practising engineers, and ultimately the information will be fed into harmonised European Standards.
The projects finding will be actively disseminated throughout the next two years and beyond via a web site, an interactive CD data base of corrosion references, and a series of one-day seminars and site workshops. To encourage the next generation of engineers, a series of lecture courses will be prepared for university undergraduates.
Wide consultation with the industry, drawing on experience gained in combating this increasing problem, is planned when developing the guidelines. Participating organisations will be invited to discuss materials, structures, surveys, monitoring and repair techniques and protection strategies.
The Degradation of Materials in Aggressive Environments (DME) Programme forms part of the Materials Metrology suite of programmes supported by DTI. This three year programme (1998-2001) aims to maintain and develop the existing UK infrastructure which responds to the industrial need for test methods relating to the degradation of a diverse range of materials in common aggressive environments such as chemicals, high temperatures and sunlight. Programme areas include: aqueous corrosion of metals, high temperature degradation, degradation of polymers and polymeric coatings and corrosion in concrete.