Controlling past and future deterioration of reinforced concrete

The durability of concrete structures is affected by a number of factors such as environmental exposure, electrochemical reactions, mechanical loading, impact damage, mix design, and poor construction, amongst others. Corrosion of the reinforcement is the main consequence for the deterioration of steel reinforced concrete structures with the cause often related to environmental exposure, poor design or placement and others. Corrosion management is becoming increasingly necessary as a result of the growing number of aging infrastructure assets internationally (e.g. bridges, tunnels etc.) and the increased requirement for unplanned maintenance in order to keep these structures operational throughout their design life (and increasingly commonly, beyond). A recently completed research programme by the authors investigated the long-term performance of the most common corrosion management techniques by means of in-situ and laboratory testing focused on full-scale reinforced concrete (RC) bridge structures in order to collect a variety of rigorous empirical data. Consequently analysis enabled improvements to be recommended for the corrosion management of steel reinforced concrete structures through changes in design and maintenance requirements. This paper provides an overarching review of how the findings of this recent research on a) patch repairs and incipient anodes, b) Impressed Current Cathodic Protection, c) galvanic and hybrid cathodic protection and d) hydrophobic impregnations on full-scale RC structures can form part of a wider corrosion management strategy in order to enhance durability and extend the service life of RC structures.