Severely Corroded RC with Cover Cracking
Journal article, 2013
It is not uncommon that cover cracking, spalling, and delamination occur in many corroding RC structures. Previous research has mainly been concerned with corrosion levels leading to cover cracking along the main reinforcement, whereas corrosion of stirrups is often overlooked. Corrosion phenomena, including stirrup corrosion, were studied in an experimental investigation presented in this paper. High levels of corrosion were reached, up to 20% of the main bars and 34% of the stirrups legs. The occurrence of crack initiation, propagation, and cover delamination were examined. The specimens had the shape of a beam end and were corroded with an accelerated method; an imposed current was used, taking care to keep the current density as low as practically possible for the duration of the laboratory testing. The effects of this process were compared with those of natural corrosion using models from the literature. The location of the bar, middle and corner placement, the amount of transverse reinforcement, and the corrosion level of longitudinal reinforcement and of transverse reinforcement were studied. The results concerning the concrete cracking in the experimental campaign are presented. The crack patterns and widths were analyzed, showing differences between specimens with or without stirrups and whether stirrups were corroding. Finally, the effect of corrosion was simulated as the expansion of corrosion products in a finite-element (FE) model, and the results, mainly the crack pattern and width, were compared with the test results. The conclusions addressed the importance of taking into consideration both high corrosion levels and corrosion of stirrups for the assessment of deteriorated structures.