Development of sustainable electrochemical corrosion protection systems for reinforced concrete structures (DOSECOPS)

Corrosion of reinforcing steel in concrete structures is a worldwide problem and affects a large number of infrastructures. Two major causes connected to corrosion of reinforcing steel are the carbonation and chloride attack. Concrete carbonation produces a carbonated surface layer in which the pore solution pH value is depressed to near-neutral levels. A fall in pH to values below 10 at the steel can render the steel passive film thermodynamically unstable and thus cause steel corrosion. While chloride attack causes localised breakdown of the passive film that initially forms on steel as a result of the alkaline nature of the pore solution in concrete. The harmful chloride ions can be originated from the use of contaminated mix constituents or from the surrounding environment such as deicing salts or seawater. The corrosion of steel not only reduces the strength of reinforcement but also can lead to cracking and spalling of cover concrete because of the substantial volume increase that accompanies the transformation of iron to rust.
To promote the effective application of reinforced concrete it is important to protect the reinforcing steel from corrosion during its service life.This proposal is to explore a new electrochemical remediation of reinforced concrete structures by combining conventional electrochemical processes, such as the electrochemical chloride removal for chloride contaminated concrete and the electrochemical Realkalisation for carbonated concrete, with electrochemical nanoparticle injection.
Using the new electrochemical processes, not only can they remove chlorides from concrete and increase alkalinity in concrete pore solution but also simultaneously inject nanoparticles into the concrete to enhance its mechanical properties as well as improve its porosity to stop the further penetration of chlorides and CO2 from its surrounding environment, and thus provide a permanent solution for concrete repair suffered from carbonation and chloride attack.

This is an EU-granted project under FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES. The overall objective of this project is to bring together an international team of researchers, with a wide variety of skills in electrochemistry, material science, structure engineering, nanotechnology, electromechanical engineering, and computer modelling, to develop new electrochemical treatment methods for both new and old RC structures to minimise both repairing and monitoring costs, and improve the structures’ long-term safety. The project is for staff exchanges between three European universities and two Chinese universities involving 18 researchers and 168 person-months during 4 years to fully explore the complementary strength and synergies within the consortium.

Partner organizations

  • University of Plymouth (Academic, United Kingdom)
  • Polytechnic University of Milan (Academic, Italy)
Start date 01/07/2012
End date The project is closed: 30/06/2016

This is an EU-granted project under FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES. The overall objective of this project is to bring together an international team of researchers, with a wide variety of skills in electrochemistry, material science, structure engineering, nanotechnology, electromechanical engineering, and computer modelling, to develop new electrochemical treatment methods for both new and old RC structures to minimise both repairing and monitoring costs, and improve the structures’ long-term safety. The project is for staff exchanges between three European universities and two Chinese universities involving 18 researchers and 168 person-months during 4 years to fully explore the complementary strength and synergies within the consortium.​

The project is carried out at the Divison of Building Technology in the research group Building Materials.

Keywords: Concrete, corrosion protection, durability, electrochemical treatment, reinforcement

Project members

Project leader
Luping Tang

Project members
Emma Qingnan Zhang
Arezou Babaahmadi
Wei Liu

Contact
Luping Tang

External partners at the project
​​Prof Long-yuan Li, Plymouth University, UK (coordinator)
Prof Luca Bertolini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Prof Jin Weiliang, Zhejiang University, China
Prof Xing Feng, Shenzhen University, China
Chalmers Areas of Advance

​Built Environment

Material Science

Funded by

  • European Commission (FP7) (Public, Belgium)

Published: Thu 17 Jan 2013. Modified: Thu 31 May 2018