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ICE Briefing Sheet

CONCENTRATED CORROSION ON MARINE STEEL STRUCTURES

This briefing sheet is a summary of British Standard BS6349-1:2000 Clause 59 as published by, and available from, the British Standards Institution. This clause deals with the general considerations to be taken when structural steel and other metals are to be incorporated into maritime structures and makes particular reference to steel piles and concentrated corrosion.

BACKGROUND It has come to the attention of the Maritime Board that the number of cases of concentrated corrosion and, in particular, accelerated low water corrosion (ALWC) on marine steel structures are on the increase, both within the UK and worldwide. There is concern that many authorities and engineers are still not aware of the problem or are unsure how to deal with it. This briefing will therefore attempt to redress this to some degree by highlighting the reasons for corrosion on weldable structural steels (mainly piles) used in marine structures and the need to control it. The different types of known corrosion mechanism, including ALWC, will be described along with perceived typical corrosion rates and measures to be taken against corrosion.

Miles of piles but they need taken care of

CORROSION RATES Table 25 in the standard classifies exposure of an area of steel in a marine environment into vertical zones in which corrosion requires separate consideration. Notional average and upper limit values of corrosion for exposed, unprotected structural steels in temperate climates in mm/side/year are given as a guide to what could be expected. These are summarized below:Avg. Atmospheric zone (in the dry) Splash zone (above MHWS) Tidal zone ( MLWS and MHWS) Intertidal low water zone (0.5m below LAT to MLWS) Continuous seawater immersion zone Embedded or below seabed zone 0.04 0.08 0.04 0.08 U.L. 0.10 0.17 0.10 0.17

MARINE CORROSION Metals are more prone to corrosion in a marine environment than inland due primarily to: Galvanic cell formation caused by anodes and cathodes forming between different metals or on the same metal but due to varying conditions e.g. differential aeration, or by strong currents along with the solution of salts in the water acting as the electrolyte. Erosion of corrosion products removal of rust products by wave action, rubbing or cyclic deflections causes quicker regeneration of replacement products. Neglect inadequacy of planned preventative inspection and/or maintenance by owners.

0.04

0.13 0.015 (max)

Briefing Sheets are provided free of charge to help increase knowledge and awareness. They may be freely copied. Care is taken to ensure information is correct. However readers are advised to consult source documents for authoritative information. The Institution of Civil Engineers is a registered charity No 210252, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA.

CONCENTRATED CORROSION In marine environments, however, corrosion rates in excess of those given in Table 25 can be caused locally and by several mechanisms. These forms of accelerated corrosion are referred to as concentrated corrosion and are described as follows: Repeated removal of the protective corrosion product layer by the means describes earlier causes this area to become anodic to the unprotected areas. Steel that is electrically connected to metals having nobler potentials, or where weld metals are significantly less noble than the parent metal, causes bi-metallic corrosion. Microbiological activity in concentrations around (and below) the low water zone will cause accelerated corrosion. This type of concentration is commonly referred to as ALWC. It is understood that the microbiological activity creates localized and relatively severe anodic/cathodic conditions and the visual appearance is characterized by bright orange patches overlying a black sludge and a shiny, pitted steel surface. Concentrated corrosion on a Universal Bearing Pile

It is recommended that the hazard of corrosion along with the safety and environmental risks posed as a consequence should be the subject of assessment by those responsible for the structures concerned. Financial consequences are best considered by way of cost benefit analyses of either the corrosion control measures for the structure at design stage, or based on a survey of the existing structure, as the case may be. Generally, for existing structures, early intervention makes economic sense.

Corrosion rates for concentrated corrosion are given as typically 0.5mm/side/year averaged over time to the point of complete perforation of steel plate. Cases of 0.8mm/side/year are reported to have occurred in UK coastal waters.

GENERAL MEASURES AGAINST CORROSION In situations where high rates of corrosion are expected, or are likely, it is recommended that a specific solution be developed using one or more of the following methods: A thicker steel section, a higher grade of steel, or the addition of steel plates. A high quality protective coating. An electrical protection. bonding system and cathodic

CONSEQUENCES OF CONCENTRATED CORROSION The British Standard warns that loss of material through a holed sheet-pile wall can lead to collapse of adjacent surfacing or structures supported on the backfill. Concentrated corrosion is, however, unlikely to cause catastrophic global failure of a sheet-piled structure (due to its continuous nature) but it may be more critical on a kingpile or other structural member.

A design to ensure that high bending moments occur in areas away from anticipated concentrated corrosion sites.

This list is not considered exhaustive and other examples include concrete facing, wrappings, impressed current systems and the like. Some of the measures are more suited

Briefing Sheets are provided free of charge to help increase knowledge and awareness. They may be freely copied. Care is taken to ensure information is correct. However readers are advised to consult source documents for authoritative information. The Institution of Civil Engineers is a registered charity No 210252, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA.

to maintenance and/or repair of existing structures where access by limpet dams or divers may be necessary. Structures should be inspected at regular intervals so that corrosion activity can be identified at an early stage. The adverse effect of removal of localized fouling and corrosion products if left unchecked should not be overlooked.

Ferguson (Secretary, Maritime Board) at the ICE as follows:Tel. +44(0)20 7665 2232 Fax +44(0)20 7799 1325 E-mail Anne-Marie.Ferguson@ice.org.uk

Plating repairs at low tide COMMENTARY The solution to concentrated corrosion on marine steel structures is by and large an empirical subject. Each maritime site is unique and every quay or jetty installation different in terms of environment and possibly design, construction and operation. Contemporary reports of occurrences frequently confound previously perceived patterns and trends and are found in areas difficult to access both for inspection and repair. As far as solutions are concerned, there appears to be no panacea or absolute design formula so engineers must draw their own conclusions for each individual case. Information available can only be taken as a guide as it is based on what is currently known. Other sources of information on the subject include clients, consultants, contractors and other specialists with knowledge and experience of the issues involved. The challenges of this subject are not limited to civil engineers and corrosion specialists and metallurgists can also have a contribution to make. The Maritime Board has participated in two recent conferences on ALWC at which papers from members and other practitioners with varying expertise were presented. Further information may be obtained through Anne-Marie

Briefing Sheets are provided free of charge to help increase knowledge and awareness. They may be freely copied. Care is taken to ensure information is correct. However readers are advised to consult source documents for authoritative information. The Institution of Civil Engineers is a registered charity No 210252, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA.