A model for prediction of time from corrosion initiation to corrosion cracking

Prediction of time to corrosion cracking is a key element in evaluating the service life of corroded reinforced concrete (RC) structures. This paper presents a mathematical model that predicts the time from corrosion initiation to corrosion cracking. In the present model a relationship between the steel mass loss and the internal radial pressure caused by the expansion of corrosion products is developed. The concrete around a corroding steel reinforcing bar is modeled as a thick-walled cylinder with a wall thickness equal to the thinnest concrete cover. The concrete ring is assumed to crack when the tensile stresses in the circumferential direction at every part of the ring have reached the tensile strength of concrete. The internal radial pressure at cracking is then determined and related to the steel mass loss. Faraday’s law is then utilized to predict the time from corrosion initiation to corrosion cracking. The model accounts for the time required for corrosion products to fill a porous zone before they start inducing expansive pressure on the concrete surrounding the steel reinforcing bar. The accuracy of the model is demonstrated by comparing the model’s predictions with experimental data published in the literature.