This study offers an experimental and numerical analysis of the influence of the current density on oxide formation and the resulting cracking of reinforced concrete subjected to accelerated corrosion. The specimens were idealized reinforced concrete prisms in which a calibrated steel tube replaced the standard ribbed bar reported in most published works. This allowed the evolution of the inner diameter and volume of the tube to be recorded, providing relevant information on the mechanical interactions of the steel–oxide–concrete system. In addition, the information recorded during the tests also included the evolution of the corrosion depth and width of the main crack that grew across the concrete cover. Furthermore, the crack pattern after the corrosion process was analyzed by using slices of the specimens impregnated with fluorescent resin. Experiments were conducted for several current densities. The results show that decreasing the corrosion current density results in an increase in the corrosion depth necessary for crack initiation, a smaller effective volumetric expansion and a more irregular crack pattern. When combined with finite-element simulations carried out by using a model that reproduces the expansive behavior of the oxide and the cohesive fracture of concrete, the results show that the effective expansion factor of the oxide becomes smaller as the density of current is reduced. This would suggest that the corrosion rate affects both the pressure build-up in the growing oxide layer and, closely linked to this, the diffusion of oxide within the pores and cracks in the surrounding concrete.
Materials and Structures – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 22, 2017
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