Development of an Embeddable Microinstrument for Corrosivity Monitoring in Concrete

Report No: 00-CR1

Published in 1999

About the report:

The aim of this program was the development of a small and completely embeddable microinstrument for corrosivity measurement in concrete. It should contain all the electronics for the electrochemical measurements, the means for data transfer between engineer and device, and sensors sensitive to the different corrosivity parameters. The goals of the work reported here were to develop and test the required sensors and electronics in a laboratory setting. Sensors for the measurement of corrosion rate, corrosion potential, chloride concentration, and concrete conductivity were developed and tested in laboratory-scale concrete slabs. The tests included electrochemical chloride driving as a method for test acceleration and wet/dry cycling. The corrosion sensor consists of a piece of reinforcing steel as working electrode, another rebar piece or a platinized Nb-mesh as counterelectrode, and an Ag/AgCI electrode as reference electrode. The conductivity sensor is based on a modified Wenner four-pin method and made of four parallel Au wires. Both sensors work very well. Chloride introduced into the concrete electrochemically induced corrosion on the corrosion sensor, as seen by a decrease in potential and in the polarization resistance. The potentials recovered after more than 1000 h of electrochemical chloride removal, but the corrosion resistance did not regain its original value. The change in chloride content was monitored by a silver/silver chloride chloride sensor. The only present drawback of the microinstrument is the construction of a long-term reliable reference electrode. The best candidates seem to be Ni/W galvanic couple and lead. A micropotentiostat coupled to a zero-resistance ammeter and a microgalvanostat based on operational amplifiers were designed: and heart of a complete measurement system, which includes on two double surface mount boards the ASIC, a microprocessor, control circuitry, and connections to the external corrosivity sensors, as well as RF transceiver circuitry for the wireless communication with the instrument.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Robert G. Kelly, Stephen H. Jones

Last updated: December 11, 2023

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