Field Investigation of the Corrosion Protection Performance of Bridge Decks and Piles Constructed with Epoxy-coated Reinforcing Steel in Virginia

Report No: 98-R4

Published in 1997

About the report:

The corrosion protection performance of epoxy-coated reinforcing steel (ECR) was assessed in three bridge decks and the piles in three marine structures in Virginia in 1996. The decks were 17 years old, two of the marine structures were 8 years old, and the other marine structure was 7 years old at the time of the investigation. The deck investigations included visually surveying surface cracks in the right traffic lane and drilling 12 cores randomly located in the lowest 12th percentile cover depth. The pile investigations included removing 1 core at an elevation between high and low tides from each of 30 piles. The evaluation of the concrete in each core included visually inspecting and measuring moisture content, absorption, percent saturation, carbonation depth, and effective chloride diffusion constant. The evaluation of the ECR from each core included visually inspecting and measuring physical damage, coating thickness, adhesion loss and corrosion at damaged sites, and undercoating corrosion at adhesion test sites. The chloride content of the concrete and the carbonation of the ECR trace were also determined for each core. In the majority of bars examined, the epoxy coating has debonded or is debonding from the reinforcing bar. This occurs without the presence of chloride, and its rate is related to concrete moisture conditions, temperature, coating defects, and other bar and coating properties. Based on the results of this field study, epoxy coatings can be expected to debond from reinforcing steel in Virginia's marine environments in about 6 years and from bridge decks in about 15 years. The authors recommend that additional bridge decks be evaluated to confirm these results.

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.


  • Richard E. Weyers, Wioleta A. Pyc, Jerzy Zemajtis, Youping Lin, David W. Mokarem, Michael M. Sprinkel, P.E.

Last updated: December 15, 2023

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