Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Civil and Environmental Engineering


College of Engineering and Computing

First Advisor

Paul Ziehl


The deterioration of concrete bridge decks presents a maintenance challenge for most transportation agencies and bridge owners. This problem increases during the freeze-thaw cycle. De-icing salts can accelerate the deterioration process. Corrosion of steel reinforcement in reinforced concrete structures is considered a dominant factor causing premature deterioration, especially those structures located in a coastal environment. The resulting corrosion product produced has several times the volume of steel, resulting in cracking of the concrete cover if the corrosion is significant. In this study, a bridge deck specimen was subjected to an artificial environment to accelerate the corrosion process. Prior to this step, visual inspection, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Infrared Thermography (IR), Impact Icho (IE), and Half- Cell Potential (HCP) were performed on the bridge deck specimen by Bridge Diagnostics, Inc. (BDI) and Infrasense. The results of GPR, IR and IE indicated that the deck was in good condition while the HCP measurements indicated little to no active corrosion activity. During the accelerated corrosion process, corrosion activity and corrosion rate were estimated with half-cell potential and linear polarization resistance measurements. Impact-echo and ultra-sonic pulse velocity tests were conducted periodically to assess concrete damage. Corrosion losses required to initiate cracks were estimated. At the end of the test period, results show steel corrosion occurred, but concrete damage was not detected or visually observed.