Identification of incipient pitting corrosion in reinforced concrete structures using guided waves and piezoelectric wafer transducers

Rajeshwara chary Sriramadasu, Ye Lu* (Corresponding Author), Sauvik Banerjee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Corrosion poses a great threat to ageing civil infrastructure in the world, and researchers are seeking methods to monitor the corrosion in reinforced concrete structures. Detection of corrosion at its incipient stage has been an impending task in the non-destructive testing of materials. Several non-destructive testing methods to assess the presence of corrosion exist. The limitation of the current methods is that either they require measurement at several points or they require a large network of sensors. Guided wave-based monitoring overcomes these limitations because a large area can be scanned using fewer sensors. The process of corrosion is complex, and it leads to a simultaneous reduction in the diameter and the debonding between concrete and reinforcing steel bars in reinforced concrete structures. However, some of the recent studies that explore the use of guided waves focus only on the detection of the individual effect of diameter reduction and debonding of the rebars in reinforced concrete by artificially inducing the damage. In this study, an accelerated corrosion setup is deployed to induce pitting corrosion in reinforced concrete beams using the impressed current method. These beams are continuously monitored using ultrasonic guided waves that are generated and received by piezoelectric wafer transducers that are attached to the rebars. It is shown that the incipient stage of pitting corrosion can be detected successfully, and the mechanism of corrosion process, which involves the corrosion initiation, progression, and diameter reduction-and-cracking phases, can be established from the signal characteristics of the longitudinal and flexural-guided wave modes. The impressed current flow in the corrosion cell also confirms the various phases of corrosion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalStructural Health Monitoring
Issue number1
Early online date16 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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