Diagnosis of carbonation induced corrosion initiation and progression in reinforced concrete structures using piezo-impedance transducers

V. Talakokula, S. Bhalla, R. J. Ball, C. R. Bowen, G. L. Pesce, R. Kurchania, B. Bhattacharjee, A. Gupta, Kevin Paine

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In addition to chloride induced corrosion, the other commonly occurring type of rebar corrosion in reinforced concrete structures is that induced by the ingress of atmospheric carbon dioxide into concrete, commonly referred to as ‘carbonation induced corrosion’. This paper presents a new approach for detecting the onset and quantifying the level of carbonation induced rebar corrosion. The approach is based on the changes in the mechanical impedance parameters acquired using the electro-mechanical coupling of a piezoelectric lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramic patch bonded to the surface of the rebar. The approach is non-destructive and is demonstrated though accelerated tests on reinforced concrete specimens subjected to controlled carbon dioxide exposure for a period spanning over 230 days. The equivalent stiffness parameter, extracted from the frequency response of the admittance signatures of the PZT patch, is found to increase with penetration of carbon dioxide inside the surface and the consequent carbonation, an observation that is correlated with phenolphthalein staining. After the onset of rebar corrosion, the equivalent stiffness parameter exhibited a reduction in magnitude over time, providing a clear indication of the occurrence of corrosion and the results are correlated with scanning electron microscope images and Raman spectroscopy measurements. The average rate of corrosion is determined using the equivalent mass parameter. The use of PZT ceramic transducers, therefore, provides an alternate and effective technique for diagnosis of carbonation induced rebar corrosion initiation and progression in reinforced concrete structures non-destructively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-91
Number of pages13
JournalSensors and Actuators A-Physical
Early online date21 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016



  • SEM
  • Chloride
  • Corrosion
  • Carbonation
  • Steel Reinforced Concrete

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