TREND 2000 Ltd, a UK based company specialising in the application of durable materials for the transport and infrastructure sectors, has been awarded a consultancy contract with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to carry out a programme of research entitled Corrosion in Concrete. A team of specialists from BRE, John Broomfield Consultancy and Risk Review Ltd has joined with TREND 2000 to deliver and disseminate the project to the UK.
Corrosion of steel in reinforced concrete structures such as motorway bridges, buildings and marine installations is costing the UK an estimated £550 million/annum. Affected structures require extensive maintenance or replacement and construction engineers require improved techniques for assessing when maintenance is necessary and possible or when replacement is the only viable option.
Several techniques exist for reducing the likelihood of corrosion of the reinforcing bars in concrete structures, e.g. protective coating of the steel, cathodic protection, or the use of alternatives such as alloy steels and non-metallic materials. However, uncertainty regarding the interaction of the constituents of the concrete, the effects of aggressive chemicals in the environment and the susceptibility to attack of the reinforcement make the choice of protection difficult. This is further confused by a lack of appropriate best practice guidance from within the industry.
This project will address the issues of maintenance, monitoring of degradation and prevention of degradation of structures. A new approach being developed by the project team, to assist earlier application of new technology, is to analyse the risk associated with the adoption of various inspection, protection and prevention strategies. The analysis will include the environmental, economic, human and technical risks and a register will be constructed for each methodology studied under the project.
The final objective will be to develop new industry guidance documents, disseminate the recommendations to the grass roots of the industry and ultimately to feed the information into the harmonised European Standards.
The Project Tasks
The five main tasks to be completed during this project are as follows:
- Establishment of the key issues in measuring and controlling the corrosion of steel in concrete.
- Evaluation of methods for predicting corrosion rate of steel in reinforced concrete structures.
- Evaluation of a range of protection strategies.
- Active dissemination of findings.
- Publication of guidance documents for UK industry.
Industrial Participation Sought
In order to develop appropriate guidelines for the industry it is important to consult widely with organisations involved in all aspects of concrete technology. Over 25 UK companies are being invited to participate in this programme. The companies cover a cross-section of the industry and include:
- Material Suppliers
- Consulting Engineers
- Structure Owners
- Research OrganisationsContractors
Participating organisations will be invited to join the Industrial Advisory Group (IAG) and to share and discuss their experience of rebar corrosion including specific materials, structures, surveys, monitoring and repair techniques used and any protection strategies adopted.
The Project Cost and Duration
The project is scheduled to run for 2 years at a cost of £350 k. The DTI has agreed to support the programme to a level of £200 k with the remaining £150 k to come from industry.
The main deliverables to the participants will be:
- Comprehensive report on recommended techniques for the monitoring and evaluation of the corrosion rate of steel reinforced concrete.
- A computer model of the degradation of steel reinforcement validated against existing structures.
- A practical guide for improved maintenance of existing reinforced concrete structures.
- A guide on strategies available for the protection of new structures.
Benefits of Participation
Participating Companies will receive the following key benefits:
- The ability to participate in and influence the leading UK initiative in this field.
- Access to specialist corrosion expertise to help solve current durability problems.
- Immediate access to the latest technology and thinking on corrosion monitoring and prevention.
- Project final reports that are reviewed by industrial participants.
- High profile PR relating to this major project.