A Theoretical and Practical Review of Half Cell Potential Measurements for Assessing Reinforcement Corrosion

D Ferguson & H Ben Mansour1
Infracorr Consulting Pty Ltd1, Melbourne, Australia

Early identification of degradation of infrastructure materials can provide significant economic benefits to the management and maintenance of a structure. For reinforced concrete structures, there is a significant delay between corrosion initiation and visible evidence of deterioration. The recommended maintenance approach can vary for structures with only localised versus widespread deterioration. Half-cell potential measurements are commonly used as a non-destructive technique to assess the likelihood of reinforcement corrosion within a concrete structure. The results of this technique are dependent on a range of factors – including construction and environmental factors – and skilled interpretation is required. One common standard to interpret half-cell potential measurements is ASTM C876, however there is other published experimental research that offer alternative criteria.

In this paper, the theoretical basis of the technique, along with a practical method for taking measurements in the field, is described. Limitations and sources of error are identified. A review of the published literature is undertaken to identify theoretical and experimental data that can be used as criteria when assessing half-cell potential measurements. Finally, the authors present data from additional investigative works for a pre-stressed reinforced concrete structure, and contrast the practical results with the outcomes of the
literature review.

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