Inspectioneering
Explore this topic

Overview of Concrete Corrosion

Concrete Corrosion refers to the degradation of concrete due to exposure to certain corrosive substances; usually sulfur compounds. Although concrete corrosion can also be caused by other factors as well, such as salty or acidic water, microbes, chlorides, nitrates, or fluorides.

Sulfuric acid can form when sulfur, which is common in certain industrial processes, comes into contact with moisture. Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive and can break down the various calcium compounds in the cement part of the concrete, causing the concrete to become soft and give way.

Concrete corrosion is especially dangerous due to the fact that concrete is porous; it has tiny interconnected holes that run through it’s structure. This allows the corrosive materials to soak into the material and cause damage from within.

The concrete itself though isn’t the only thing that’s at risk from concrete corrosion. Most concrete structures are reinforced via an embedded grid of steel bars, which provide most of the structure’s strength. If the acid corroding the concrete reaches the steel inside, these bars can begin to corrode as well, greatly weakening the structure.

How quickly the corrosion occurs depends on a number of factors such as the amount of corrosive materials, any moisture in the environment, if the material is flowing, and how well the material has been constructed. Corrosion can easily be identified with a visual inspection by identifying discolored areas in the concrete or areas where the concrete has begun to show signs of damage.

Thankfully, when it comes to concrete corrosion there are several methods of prevention, including specialty cements with reduced calcium, this will give sulfuric acid less material to work against. Another approach is to utilize surface treatments or paint applications using varnish, oil, or lacquer-based paints to help protect against corrosion.

Is this definition incomplete? You can help by contributing to it.

Share this Topic

Articles about Concrete Corrosion
    News related to Concrete Corrosion
    • Partner Content

      In today's chemical and refining industries, sustained long term reliability of facilities is critical to profitability and competitiveness. In fact, history shows that differences in operating expenses between best-in-class refineries, and poor...


      Inspectioneering Journal

      Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

      Company Directory

      Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

      Talent Solutions

      Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

      Case Studies

      Learn from the experience of others in the industry.

      Event Calendar

      Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.

      Industry News

      Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.

      Blog

      Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

      Acronyms

      Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.

      Downloads

      Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

      Videos

      Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.

      Expert Interviews

      Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.