Volume 3, Issue 2 (February 2006)
Service Life Extension of Virginia Bridge Decks Afforded by Epoxy-Coated Reinforcement
A study was conducted on concrete core samples each containing a single top-mat reinforcing steel bar from ten bridge decks in Virginia. Two of the bridges contained conventional, uncoated mild reinforcing steel (Bare), and eight of the bridges were constructed with epoxy-coated reinforcement (ECR). The bridges ranged in age from 4 to 18 years, and were built under same specifications for concrete water-to-cement ratio (w/c) and cover depth. In the laboratory, the subject cores were prepared and corrosion activity was monitored via electrochemical impedance spectroscopy while subject to cyclic ponding of a 3 % NaCl solution over a 22-month exposure period. The relative corrosion performance of the Bare and ECR bars were evaluated, by comparison of the time to corrosion initiation and time to failure, as designated by visible cracking of the concrete cover. A stochastic model was employed, using bootstrap resampling techniques, to project the corrosion protection service life extension provided by epoxy-coated reinforcement as compared to Bare steel for the population of Virginia bridge decks. Less than 25 % of all Virginia bridge decks built under specifications in place since 1981 were projected to corrode sufficiently to require rehabilitation within 100 years, regardless of bar type. The corrosion service life extension attributable to ECR in bridge decks was found to be approximately 5 years beyond that of Bare steel.