The effect of the steel–concrete interface on chloride-induced corrosion initiation in concrete: a critical review by RILEM TC 262-SCI

Ueli M. Angst*, Mette Rica Geiker, Maria Cruz Alonso, Rob Polder, O. Burkan Isgor, Bernhard Elsener, Hong Wong, Alexander Michel, Karla Hornbostel, Christoph Gehlen, Raoul François, Mercedes Sanchez, Maria Criado, Henrik Sørensen, Carolyn Hansson, Radhakrishna Pillai, Shishir Mundra, Joost Gulikers, Michael Raupach, José PachecoAlberto Sagüés

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The steel–concrete interface (SCI) is known to influence corrosion of steel in concrete. However, due to the numerous factors affecting the SCI—including steel properties, concrete properties, execution, and exposure conditions—it remains unclear which factors have the most dominant impact on the susceptibility of reinforced concrete to corrosion. In this literature review, prepared by members of RILEM technical committee 262-SCI, an attempt is made to elucidate the effect of numerous SCI characteristics on chloride-induced corrosion initiation of steel in concrete. We use a method to quantify and normalize the effect of individual SCI characteristics based on different literature results, which allows comparing them in a comprehensive context. It is found that the different SCI characteristics have received highly unbalanced research attention. Parameters such as w/b ratio and cement type have been studied most extensively. Interestingly, however, literature consistently indicates that those parameters have merely a moderate effect on the corrosion susceptibility of steel in concrete. Considerably more pronounced effects were identified for (1) steel properties, including metallurgy, presence of mill scale or rust layers, and surface roughness, and (2) the moisture state. Unfortunately, however, these aspects have received comparatively little research attention. Due to their apparently strong influence, future corrosion studies as well as developments towards predicting corrosion initiation in concrete would benefit from considering those aspects. Particularly the working mechanisms related to the moisture conditions in microscopic and macroscopic voids at the SCI is complex and presents major opportunities for further research in corrosion of steel in concrete.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number88
    JournalMaterials and Structures
    Issue number4
    Number of pages25
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Steel–concrete interface
    • Interfacial transition zone
    • Durability
    • Corrosion
    • Inhomogeneity
    • Variability


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