Monitoring of early detection of corrosion in infrastructure

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

One of the major challenges we face in our efforts to maintain the functionality and resilience of our infrastructure is corrosion. Steel corrosion is the largest and most costly deterioration problem in reinforced concrete, with a UK annual budget of >£1 billion. Highways England are responsible for all issues relating to corrosion protection of both reinforced concrete and steelwork structures on the road network. The corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete structures manifests itself in rust formation, cracking and delamination leading to the damage and degradation of structures.
Very early stage detection of reinforcement corrosion would provide significant benefits in protecting assets and optimising maintenance regimes. Hence the development and use of monitoring systems to enable such early detection is one area of research interest. Development of new and innovative coating systems to prevent concrete and steel deterioration is another area. Weathering steel is increasingly being used, under suitable exposure conditions, in highway bridges as a durable low maintenance material. This leads to requirements for corrosion monitoring to assess the adequate provision of the sacrificial thickness allowance made in design. Current methods of corrosion monitoring involve direct contact with the steel surface and generally involve affecting the protective patina there. Investigating methods of remote monitoring of section loss/residual steel thickness without affecting the protective patina is a fourth area of interest.
Hence, there are many challenges concerning corrosion that could form the topic of the PhD study, such as: - Early stage corrosion detection. - New coatings for concrete or steel structures. - Early stage corrosion elimination. - Monitoring the rate of corrosion and loss of section of weathering steel.
The scope of the PhD project is purposefully broad to encourage exploration of different relevant aspects and the interest and background of candidates. Defining and finalising the scope and objectives of the PhD study will form part of the MRes year.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S02302X/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2438676 Studentship EP/S02302X/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Ruth Faherty