Evaluation of Epoxy-coated Reinforcing Steel

Report No: 94-R5

Published in 1993

About the report:

Virginia's first installation of epoxy-coated reinforcing steel, which was opened to traffic in 1977, was evaluated during construction and through 13 years of service. It was apparent at the time of construction that the integrity of the coating application did not meet the requirements of the specifications There were many flaws and holidays in the coatings on all of the bars, and patching with a liquid epoxy compound was not effective. Although the applicability of the findings, which are based on an application that does not represent the best practice, may be limited, useful information on the durability of the coated steel and its role in protecting the deck was developed. It was found that the coated reinforcement was exposed to relatively high chloride concentrations at transverse cracks in the decks early in the life of the structures, but the decks remained in good condition throughout the evaluation period. It was concluded that despite the poor coatings, the coated reinforcing steel contributed to the deck's durability by providing enhanced protection at critical cracked sections. Rebars taken from deck cores showed no signs of rusting, although the steel had a dull dark gray finish that may be underfilm corrosion. No debonding of the coating was evident.

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.


  • Wallace T. McKeel, Jr., P.E.

Last updated: December 23, 2023

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