Concrete cover cracking caused by steel reinforcement corrosion

Ali S. Al-Harthy*, Mark G. Stewart, John Mullard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The paper reviews previously reported predictive models on corrosion-induced crack initiation and propagation and presents new additional results of ongoing accelerated corrosion tests conducted at The University of Newcastle. In addition to eight concrete specimens previously tested, six new specimens were tested to study the effect of reinforcement confinement, concrete strength (24 and 8 MPa), cover (10 and 20 mm) and reinforcing bar diameter (16 and 27 mm) on corrosion-induced cracking. Time-dependent crack widths were measured for different reinforced concrete slabs for corrosion rates up to 169 μA/cm2. It was foundthat predictions of time to crack initiation are highly scattered and can differ by as much as two orders of magnitude. It was also found that crack initiation and propagation times increase with increasing cover and decrease with increasing reinforcing bar diameter and compressive strength. In addition, the rate of crack propagation is 10-50% higherfor reducedreinforcement confinement such as at the edge of a slab or corner of a column. The experimental results are compared with existing crack initiation and propagation predictive models allowing for the accuracy of existing models to be assessed and showingpotential areas for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-667
Number of pages13
JournalMagazine of Concrete Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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