For existing reinforced concrete structures exposed to saline or marine conditions, there is an increasing engineering interest in their remaining safety and serviceability. A significant factor is the corrosion of steel reinforcement. At present there is little field experience and other data available. This limits the possibility for developing purely empirical models for strength and performance deterioration for use in structural safety and serviceability assessment. An alternative approach using theoretical concepts and probabilistic modeling is proposed herein. It is based on the evidence that the rate of diffusion of chlorides is influenced by internal damage to the concrete surrounding the reinforcement. This may be due to localized stresses resulting from external loading or through concrete shrinkage. Usually, the net effect is that the time to initiation of active corrosion is shortened, leading to greater localized corrosion and earlier reduction of ultimate capacity and structural stiffness. The proposed procedure is applied to an example beam and compared to experimental observations, including estimates of uncertainty in the remaining ultimate moment capacity and beam stiffness. Reasonably good agreement between the results of the proposed procedure and the experiment was found. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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