Proactive Asset Management of Concrete Infrastructure

Monitoring the impact of corrosion on concrete infrastructure such as storage sheds, wharves and bridges is a critical aspect of ensuring structural integrity and durability performance.

A key way of minimising corrosion is to design for durability and employ the most appropriate technologies and prevention techniques.

Corrosion continues to impose a massive cost on asset owners and industry. This has been estimated, in a report issued by NACE (USA), to be more than three per cent—or many billions of dollars—of global GDP each year. Owners of high-value infrastructure assets must understand the cost implications of ignoring the effects of corrosion.

Concrete reinforcing steel corrosion is a worldwide problem that causes a range of economic, aesthetic and utilisation issues. Asset owners and managers operating and maintaining concrete infrastructure face different corrosion challenges depending on the industry sector in which they operate. The concrete degradation in the football pitch-sized storage sheds operated by Queensland Sugar differs from that of the bridges maintained by VicRoads.

Harsh environments—especially coastal, tropical or desert ones with high salt levels or extreme temperatures—can accelerate the rate of corrosion of steel in concrete. Usually, the most exposed elements deteriorate first but it may take 5 to 15 years for the effects of reinforcing steel corrosion to become visibly noticeable.