Corrosion Behavior of Reinforcing Steel Undergoing Stray Current and Anodic Polarization

Zhipei Chen, Dessi Koleva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Different concrete structures (viaducts, bridges, or tunnels) in the neighborhoods of railways may be subject to the stray current leaking from the rails. In these cases, the reinforcing rebars embedded in concrete act as conductors, “pick up” the stray current, and can corrode. For simulating the stray current-induced corrosion of metals, most researchers just supplied anodic polarization on samples. However, stray current induces both cathodic polarization and anodic polarization. This work experimentally justifies the different effects of stray current and anodic polarization on reinforcing steel embedded in mortar. A comparison between stray current and anodic polarization effects on the corrosion behavior of embedded steel is performed for both fresh (24 hour-cured) and hardened matrix (28 day-cured) in chloride-free (Cl-free) and chloride-containing (Cl-containing) environments. It is found that in all studied conditions, anodic polarization leads to a significantly different electrochemical performance of the steel rebar compared to the stray current. Hence, anodic polarization cannot reflect all the effects of stray current, and therefore, it has limited significance for simulating stray current. It is also clarified that the curing regimes and starting time of the stray current play significant roles in the formation of a corrosion product layer on the steel surface.
Original languageEnglish
Article number261
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Anodic polarization
  • Corrosion
  • Mortar
  • Steel
  • Stray current


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