The performance of a cathodic protection system in reinforced concrete structure: Monitoring and Service Life Modelling

Cillian Ward, Sree Nanukuttan, John McRobert

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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    The use of cathodic protection in reinforced concrete is becoming increasingly common with such systems being installed on a number of structures throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. However the prescribed design lives (or service life) of each cathodic protection system vary widely. The aim of this project was to assess the effectiveness of a sacrificial anode cathodic protection system and to predict its design life through a series of laboratory based experiments. The experimental plan involved casting a number of slabs which represented a common road bridge structure. The corrosion of the steel within the experimental slabs was then accelerated prior to installation of a cathodic protection system. During the experiment corrosion potential of the steel reinforcement was monitored using half-cell measurement. Additionally the current flow between the cathodic protection system and the steel reinforcement was recorded to assess the degree of protection. A combination of theoretical calculations and experimental results were then collated to determine the design life of this cathodic protection system. It can be concluded that this sacrificial anode based cathodic protection system was effective in halting the corrosion of steel reinforcement in the concrete slabs studied. Both the corrosion current and half-cell potentials indicated a change in passivity for the steel reinforcement once sacrificial anodes were introduced. The corrosion current was observed to be sensitive to the changes to the exposure environment. Based on the experimental variables studied the design life of this sacrificial anode can be taken as 26 to 30 years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014
    EventCivil Engineering Research in Ireland Conference (CERAI) - QUB, Belfast, United Kingdom
    Duration: 28 Aug 201429 Aug 2014


    ConferenceCivil Engineering Research in Ireland Conference (CERAI)
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • durability
    • cathodic protection
    • hybrid anodes
    • highway structures
    • design life

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering


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