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Probabilistic Modeling of Corrosion Deterioration and Aging in Structures

Corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete structures is a hard-to-predict and serious deterioration state that can be the cause of structural problems ranging from aesthetic surface cracking to significant loss of load capacity and the potential for brittle structural failure.  In marine environments with exposure to highly saline ambient conditions, chloride-induced corrosion is an especially serious threat to structural reliability and safety in reinforced and prestressed concrete structures.  However, it is very difficult to produce clear and accurate estimates and predictions of the extent of corrosion deterioration due to its dependency on highly variable parameters having to do with outside environment, structural geometry, and materials present, in addition to other factors.  Gaining a more complete understanding of these variables and finding useful ways to apply them in finite element modeling and numerical simulation will allow for more accurate and realistic analysis of aging structures and how, where, and when corrosion deterioration affects them.  The goal of this research is to integrate multiple empirically and statistically verified components of chloride-induced corrosion into one comprehensive model, and to couple them with mechanistic models of structures. This creates a detailed framework that reveals novel information on how these interacting factors affect reliability of structures subject to corrosion. The result will be reliable prediction models for the performance of structures that can be used in risk assessment and management of aging infrastructure systems.