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Research and Development + Nondestructive Testing

CLIENT:         The University of Texas at Austin 
LOCATION:   Port Aransas, Texas

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The corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete is the leading cause of premature deterioration to concrete structures.  When steel reinforcement corrodes, it can expand up to 3 to 6 times its original volume and cause significant deterioration to the concrete and compromise the structural integrity.


Durability Engineers (DE) not only assist clients, but also remains focused on advancing the industry, improving the sustainability of concrete, and staying at the forefront of technology in the industry.  In collaboration with Drs. Thano Drimalas and Kevin Folliard at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), DE evaluated alternative and novel materials aimed at extending the service life of concrete structures. 


To assess the effectiveness of these materials, DE conducted destructive and nondestructive testing (NDT) of laboratory cast concrete elements exposed to various marine environments on the Texas coast.  These concrete elements were created with various cementitious materials, concrete mixture proportions and topical sealants to evaluate the effectiveness at mitigating chloride penetration and resultant reinforcement corrosion.


  Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures, PCA 

  Corrosion Protection - Concrete Bridges, FHWA



Nearly 100 concrete elements were cast in the laboratory, transported to the Texas coast, and exposed to the harsh marine environments for several months.  DE and the University of Texas at Austin regularly completed NDT  on the nearly 100 marine exposed specimens using corrosion analysis through half-cell potential (corrosion potential), surface resistivity and corrosion rate. 


Each concrete specimen was constructed with multiple steel reinforcing bars with varying concrete cover depths and exposed to varying marine exposure conditions – submerged, tidal, and splash. This research will enable a better understanding of the effects of exposure conditions, concrete mixture proportions, and steel reinforcement detailing by evaluating each sample under various conditions.


The research findings will provide critical guidance for mitigating corrosion in concrete exposed to marine environments.  This will enhance the service life of future marine concrete structures and mitigate high repair costs.

DE’s investigation and partnership in UT’s research resulted in:

  • Determining concrete properties able to mitigate marine-induced corrosion,

  • Collaborate with research partners to understand the effectiveness of new concrete materials and sealers that will enhance service life performance, improve structural safety, and mitigate costly repairs

concrete specimen exposed to marine environment

Let's Work Together

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