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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-4-093
Date: July 2004

Critical Literature Review of High-Performance Corrosion Reinforcements in Concrete Bridge Applications

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Economic considerations historically have precluded consideration and widespread utilization of high-performance (corrosion-resistant) reinforcements (such as stainless steels) in bridge construction. However, with the advent of life cycle cost analysis as a project planning tool and of a requirement that major bridge structures have a 75–100-year design life, the competitiveness of such steels has increased such that enhanced attention has been focused upon these materials in recent years.

This investigation was initiated to evaluate the corrosion resistance of various categories of high-performance reinforcement, including new products that are becoming available, in bridge structures that are exposed to chlorides. Both long-term (4-year) test yard exposures and accelerated laboratory experiments in simulated concrete pore waters were involved. The ultimate objective is to: (1) evaluate the corrosion properties and rank the different candidate materials; and (2) develop tools and short-term tests to help practitioners project long-term performance in actual structures. This interim report presents the results of a critical literature review of corrosion issues and behavior for high-performance reinforcements as applicable to bridges and as a precursor to the experimental program.

T. Paul Teng, P.E.
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its content or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of this document.


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


1. Report No


2. Government Accession No.


3. Recipient's Catalog No.


4. Title and Subtitle

A Critical Literature Review of High-Performance Corrosion Reinforcements in Concrete Bridge

5. Report Date

July 2004

6. Performing Organization Code


7. Authors(s)

William H. Hartt,* Rodney G. Powers,** Virginie Leroux,* and Diane K. Lysogorski* (See box 15)

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Center for Marine Materials
Florida Atlantic University—Sea Tech Campus
101 North Beach Road
Dania Beach, FL 33004

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

 Office of Infrastructure R&D
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report
July 2004

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Y.P. Virmani, HRDI-10
* Center for Marine Materials Florida Atlantic University—Sea Tech Campus 101 North Beach Road, Dania Beach, FL 33004
** Florida Department of Transportation State Materials Office 5007 NE 39th Street Gainesville, FL 32609

16. Abstract

A critical literature review regarding high-performance reinforcement for concrete bridge applications was conducted. This included (1) an overview of the corrosion-induced concrete deterioration process, (2) corrosion control alternatives, (3) the utility of corrosion (pitting) resistant alloys for applications in chloride containing environments, (4) a review of the pitting mechanism, and (5) performance of various metallic reinforcement types in aqueous solutions, cementitious embedments, test yard exposures, and actual structures.  Specific alloys upon which attention was directed include black steel; MMFX-II; and various grades of ferritic, austenitic, and duplex stainless steels, as both solid and clad bars and in the as-received and pickled conditions. It was determined that the high-performance alloys outperformed black steel from a corrosion resistance standpoint. Unlike the various grades of black steel, however, a relatively wide range of corrosion performance was apparent for the high-performance counterparts depending upon the alloy and surface condition. At the same time, the present approach to materials selection for bridge construction is to identify the reinforcement candidate that will achieve the design life at the least life cycle cost.  This, in turn requires that long-term corrosion performance of candidate reinforcement types be known for the anticipated design life of the bridge in question, which can be 75–100 years. However, because service history for these materials in this application is limited, the necessary information can only be obtained from accelerated, short-term tests, but there is no reliable correlation between the results from these tests and long-term performance.

17. Key Words

Reinforced concrete, bridges, corrosion resistance, highperformance reinforcement, stainless steels, MMFX-II

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the Public through the National Technical Information Service; Springfield, VA 22161

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized (art. 5/94)

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors









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