Inspection and assessment of corrosion in pretensioned concrete bridge girders exposed to coastal climate

Magdalena J. Osmolska, Karla Hornbostel, Terje Kanstad, Max A.N. Hendriks, Gro Markeset

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The most common methods for detecting chloride-induced corrosion in concrete bridges are half-cell potential (HCP) mapping, electrical resistivity (ER) measurements, and chloride concentration testing, combined with visual inspection and cover measurements. However, studies on corrosion detection in pretensioned structures are rare. To investigate the applicability and accuracy of the above methods for corrosion detection in pretensioned bridge girders, we measured pretensioned I-shaped girders exposed to the Norwegian coastal climate for 33 years. We found that, even combined, the above methods can only reliably identify general areas with various probabilities of corrosion. Despite severe concrete cracking and high chloride content, only small corrosion spots were found in strands. Because HCP cannot distinguish corrosion probability in the closely spaced strands from other electrically connected bars, the actual condition of individual strands can be found only when concrete cover is locally removed. Wet concrete with high chloride content and accordingly low HCP and low ER was found only in or near the girder support zones, which can therefore be considered the areas most susceptible to chloride-induced corrosion. We conclude by proposing a procedure for the inspection and assessment of pretensioned girders in a marine environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number76
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Chloride concentrations
  • Chloride-induced corrosion
  • Corrosion assessment
  • Electrical resistivity
  • Half-cell potentials
  • Inspection
  • Pretensioned girders

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