Lateral and Radial Corrosion Propagation Behavior of 9–21% Cr and 18% Cr + 2.8% Mo Stainless Steel Reinforcing Materials in Simulated Concrete Environments

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The life of a concrete structure exposed to deicing compounds or seawater is often been limited by chloride induced corrosion of the steel reinforcement. A complete assessment of the potential benefits afforded by new candidate rebar alloys must address both the lateral and radial corrosion propagation behavior in comparison to conventional steel as well as other factors that might affect the risk of corrosion-induced concrete cracking. The radial (depth) and lateral (length) corrosion propagation behavior of 18% Cr + 2.8% Mo (S31653) stainless steel, 21% Cr (S32101) duplex stainless steel, and 9% Cr steel compared to plain ASTM A615 carbon steel were characterized in saturated Ca(OH)2 solution. Radial pit growth was found to be Ohmically controlled for all materials but repassivation occurred more readily at high applied potentials for 18% Cr + 2.8% Mo and 21% Cr stainless steels. Conversely, pit growth on plain steel propagated at all applied anodic potentials and did not repassivate until deactivation by cathodic polarization. Stainless steel also showed the highest resistance to lateral corrosion propagation from an active site during microelectrode array testing. 21% Cr duplex stainless and 9% Cr steel showed similar radial propagation behavior and corrosion morphology, which was intermediate to that of plain steel and S31653 stainless steel. Based on an existing concrete cracking model, it is expected that 9–21% Cr and 18% Cr + 2.8% Mo corrosion resistant rebar materials would require a greater depth of corrosion attack than carbon steel before damaging concrete via corrosion product formation.