Mitigating steel corrosion in reinforced concrete using functional coatings, corrosion inhibitors, and atomistic simulations

M Balonis and G Sant and OB Isgor, CEMENT & CONCRETE COMPOSITES, 101, 15-23 (2019).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2018.08.006

We describe new approaches based on compositional manipulation of the cementitious binder, and its geometrical arrangement, to mitigate steel corrosion in concrete, and a new ability to study corrosion processes from a fundamental point of view. First, we present a new approach to mitigate/delay corrosion initiation using calcium aluminate cement (CAC) and Ca(NO3)(2) based functional coatings by replacing a fractional thickness of the ordinary portland cement (OPC) concrete cover. Second, within a related framework, we demonstrate how tailoring the binder chemistry to produce enhanced quantities of AFm phases is a significant means to immobilize Cl- ions while actively generating corrosion inhibiting species; thereby delaying corrosion initiation. Finally, we offer new insights from reactive force field molecular dynamics (ReaxFF- MD) simulations as a means to interrogate and explain electrochemical processes at the atomistic scale. We present examples of how atomistic simulations can uncover the origins of passivity and Cl- induced corrosion at a molecular level and how such understanding can accelerate the development of new corrosion resistant materials and mitigation strategies.

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