CIGMAT Report: Center Studies Concrete Coatings And Repair Methods For Corroded Steel Piles

By C. Vipulanadan, PhD, P.E., professor and director of Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) and Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology (THC-IT), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Houston | October 2012, Vol. 67 No. 10

CIGMAT organizes an annual conference and exhibition on the first Friday in March on "Construction and Rehabilitation Activities Related to Houston & Other Major Cities" at which speakers are invited from major cities and transportation authorities around the country to present and discuss projects and problems related to construction, maintenance and rehabilitation issues. The conference also covers technical issues related to maintenance and rehabilitation of water and wastewater systems, nondestructive testing methods, and development of smart materials for various applications. Several geotechnical topics related to expansive clay, rapid deep foundation construction and ground faulting are also discussed. Conference proceedings for the past 12 years are posted on the CIGMAT website at

Composite coatings for reinforced concrete

Corrosion in reinforced concrete structures is of concern because it requires almost immediate repairs and rehabilitation to extend the service life of the structures. Concrete structures buried underground and in the coastal region are undergoing accelerated deterioration owing to the corrosion of the embedded reinforced steel. The presence of moisture, chlorides and loss of the alkaline environment causes the embedded steel to lose its surface passivity. Accumulated corrosion products cause cracking of the protective concrete cover. Deterioration caused by the corrosion of steel is not limited to bridges but also includes offshore and coastal structures, dams, buried pipes and piles (Pan and Vipulanandan 2012; Vipulanandan et al. 2011 & 2008; Klahorst et al. 2004; Pfeifer and Scali, 1981). Steel corrosion is accelerated when the protective concrete cover over the embedded bars is inadequate and where there are cracks which accelerate the migration of moisture and salt. Hence there is increasing interest in developing relatively quick test procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of composite coatings to reduce the infiltration of water and salt solutions into concrete structures to rapidly rehabilitate and extend the service life of reinforced concrete structures.

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