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Under most conditions portland cement concrete provides good protection to embedded reinforcing steel against corrosion. The protective effect of the concrete may be ascribed to its high alkalinity, its relatively low permeability, and its relatively high resistance to the flow of electric current. Notwithstanding the immunity of steel against corrosion that is usually afforded by concrete, cases have been reported in which corrosion of reinforcing steel by galvanic action has necessitated large expenditures for repair and maintenance [1–8]. The conditions leading to distress have been related to failure of the concrete to provide one or more of the protective factors named in the first paragraph.
Consulting engineer, Riverside, Calif.