ACI STRUCTURAL JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
Title no. 11 0820
Optimized Maintenance Strategy for Concrete Structures
Affected by Cracking due to Reinforcement Corrosion
by HuaPeng Chen and Amir M. Alani
An approach for predicting the development of concrete cracking
because of steel reinforcement corrosion and for determining risk
costbenefit optimized maintenance strategies during the service
life of concrete structures is presented in this paper. Crack evolu
tion in the concrete cover due to expansive corrosion products is
investigated at different stages during crack propagation across the
cover from the reinforcing barconcrete interface to the concrete
free surface. Crack growth over time is predicted analytically by
means of a softeningcohesive model for cracked concrete. Then, a
stochastic deterioration model based on a stochastic process, such
as a gamma process, is adopted to assess the actual state of the
deteriorating structure and to evaluate the probability of failure
associated with concrete cracking. Optimal repair planning and
maintenance strategies during the service life are determined by
balancing the cost for maintenance and the risk of failure. The
results from the worked example show that the proposed approach
can correctly predict concrete crack growth over time and effec
tively provide a riskcostbenefit optimized repair strategy during
the service life of the structure affected by bar corrosion.
Keywords: concrete cracking; optimized maintenance strategy; reinforcement
corrosion; stochastic deterioration process; structural performance degradation.
INTRODUCTION
The ability of concrete structures to fulfill their intended
functions, such as serviceability and durability, can be
compromised because of deterioration. One of the major
causes of performance degradation in reinforced concrete
(RC) structures is severe environmentsfor example,
because of the ingress of chlorides, which penetrate into
the concrete cover and initiate chemical reactions leading
to reinforcement corrosion. Reinforcement corrosion, which
consumes original steel reinforcing bars and provides much
lighter rust products, basically creates expansive layers at
the interface between the reinforcement and the surrounding
concrete. This will cause cracking in the cover once the hoop
tensile stress in the concrete exceeds its tensile strength. The
sectional loss in the reinforcement due to corrosion and
the cracking or even spalling of the surrounding concrete
directly influence the serviceability and durability of
concrete structures. Therefore, condition assessment based
on the prediction of crack evolution in the concrete cover is
of great importance to define a timely repair schedule and to
prevent the premature failure of RC structures.
Many investigations have been undertaken during the last
decade regarding the influence of reinforcement corrosion
and concrete cracking on the performance of RC structures
(Ahmed et al. 2007; Liu and Weyers 1998; Pantazopoulou
and Papoulia 2001; Vidal et al. 2004; Yuan et al. 2007).
Studies have been conducted to assess the influence of bar
corrosion on concrete cracking (Andrade et al. 1993; Castel
et al. 2000; Chen and Xiao 2012; Coronelli and Gambarova
2004; Mullard and Stewart 2011; TorresAcosta and Sagues
2004) and to predict the residual life of structures (Bhar
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
gava et al. 2007; Rodriguez et al. 1997; TorresAcosta
and MartinezMadrid 2003; TorresAcosta et al. 2007;
Williamson et al. 2008). The smeared crack model has been
employed for cracked concrete to investigate crack devel
opment due to the pressure generated at the barconcrete
interface (Gambarova et al. 1998; Stewart and Suo 2009).
The timedependent reliability analysis has been adopted
to evaluate resistance degradation over time (Stewart and
Rosowsky 1998; Zhang et al. 2009) and to optimize main
tenance strategy during service life (Chen and Alani 2012;
Van Noortwijk and Frangopol 2004). However, research
on the prediction of crack development in concrete due to
reinforcement corrosion is limited, with specific reference
to such concrete properties as softening in tensile strength.
Therefore, there is a need to develop an approach for crack
growth prediction in concrete and for the evaluation of the
probability of failure associated with concrete cracking to
avoid premature structural failures and determine the opti
mized maintenance strategy during service life.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
Any optimization of risk and cost decisions about repair
and maintenance of RC structures in aggressive environ
ments requires the accurate prediction of crack development
in the concrete cover subjected to reinforcement corrosion
during the entire service life. The method presented in this
paper is a significant contribution to correctly predict crack
growth in the concrete cover over time and to effectively
determine the optimal repair time by optimizing the balance
between the risk of a structural failure and the maintenance 
cost. The proposed approach considers realistic concrete
properties, such as tension softening of cracked concrete
and crackedband formation in the surrounding concrete,
and adopts the stochastic deterioration model based on a
stochastic processsuch as a gamma processto evaluate
the risk of failure associated with concrete cracking induced
by bar corrosion during the service life. This study also
investigates the influence of corrosion rate on crack devel
opment and riskcostbenefit optimized repair planning,
and concludes that the corrosion rate is the dominant factor
affecting concrete crack growth and optimal repair time. The
proposed approach provides an effective tool to assess the
actual state of deterioration in concrete structures and allows
asset managers to make rational decisions for timely repairs
from the predicted corrosioninduced crack growth.
ACI Structural Journal, V. 110, No.2, MarchApril2013.
MS No. S2011104.R2 received October 13, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright 2013, American Concrete Institute. All rights
reserved, including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the
copyright proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author's closure, if any, will be
published in the JanuaryFebruary 2014 AC/ Structural Journal if the discussion is
received by September I, 2013.
229
HuaPeng Chen is a Senior Lecturer of civil engineering in the Department of
Civil Engineering at the University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Kent, UK. He
received his PhD in /998from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. His research
inlerests include stochastic deterioration modeling, pe1Jormance of concrete infra
structure in aggressive environments, timedependent reliability analysis, health moni
toring of existing structures, and risk assessment and optimized maintenance strategy.
Amir M. Alani is a Professor of tunnel and bridge engineering in the Department
of Civil Engineering at the University of Greenwich. He received his PhD in /986
ftvm the University of Science and Technology France. His
research interests include construction materials, foundation engineering, structural
condition assessment, and repair and maintenance of buildings.
Cruck
Propagation
Phase
'
'
'
'
' Wllhout
' StructurolRepair
' \ ServlceabWI.y
'
\ Residual Life Phase
Time
Fig. ]Resistance deterioration process and lifetime exten
sion maintenance strategy of concrete structures affected by
reinforcement corrosion.
REINFORCEMENT CORROSION
AND STRENGTH DETERIORATION
Deterioration process
The process of resistance degradation and the maintenance
strategy for extending the lifetime in RC structures affected
by bar corrosion is described in Fig. 1. Three phases are
considered in the process: the crackinitiation phase, crack
propagation phase, and residuallife phase. The crackinitia
tion phase starts from the time of construction and ends when
the corrosioninduced cracking initiates at the barconcrete
interface. In general, the time period of the crackinitiation
phase is very short compared to the entire service life of the
given structures. After cracking occurs at the interface, the
crack evolution inside the concrete cover can be accelerated
due to the increase of concrete permeability and the perfor
mance of the concrete structures decreases with time. Due to
further corrosion of the reinforcement, cracks propagate and
widen inside the concrete cover and then reach an unaccept
able level for serviceability and durability. The residuallife
phase starts from the serviceability limit until the ultimate
limit is reached, when structural collapse is likely to occur.
Effective maintenance planning is necessary to keep
the deteriorating structures safe and to keep the structures
serviceable (Guettala and Abibsi 2006). If no repair is
carried out before the serviceability limit state is over, addi
tional sectional losses in the reinforcing bars and spalling or
delamination inside the concrete cover will occur, and the
strength of the concrete structures will deteriorate further
until reaching the ultimate limit or collapse state. A series
of structural repairs should therefore be planned to control
crack development in the concrete and to increase the resis
tance of the deteriorating structures before reaching the
serviceability limit state. The repair strategy for the dete
riorating structures should be determined on the basis of the
230
predictions of crack development in the concrete cover and
the statistical estimation of failure probability associated
with concrete cracking.
Reinforcement corrosion
The buildup of the products of bar corrosion depends on
the level of oxidation and generates an expansive layer on the
steel surface (Marcotte and Hansson 2007). Liu and Weyers
(1998) reported that steel bars may expand by as many as
six times their original volume. A porous zone of thickness
d
0
may exist around the original reinforcing bar surface with
an initial radius r
0
= Db/2 and should be completely filled
before the surrounding concrete is deformed by the expan
sive corrosion products.
The increase of volume per unit length due to bar corro
sion can be obtained from the volume of rust minus the
volume of the original bar consumed, as well as the porous
zone around the interface. An expansion rs in the radial
direction is then generated on the surrounding concrete
by the volume increase of the corroded reinforcement. By
neglecting the deformation of the original steel and that of
the corrosion products, the relationship of volume increase
can be expressed as follows
7t[(r. +r +d )z r.zJ = M, Ms =a M (1)
D s 0 0 m r
P, Ps
where Mr and Ms are the mass of rust products and the
consumed mass of the original bar, respectively; p,. =
3600 kg/m
3
(224.64 lb/ft
3
) and Ps = 7850 kg/m
3
(489.8 lb/ft3)
are the density of the rust determined from experimental
results and that of original steel, respectively; and am is an
empirical coefficient taken as am = 2.05 x 104 (Liu and
Weyers 1998). The mass of rust Mr in kg/m (0.67 lb/ft) over
time is estimated from
I
Mr =
(2)
where t is the duration of corrosion (year); me is an empir
ical coefficient taken as me = 2.1 X 10
2
(Pantazopoulou and
Papoulia 2001); and icorr represents the mean annual corro
sion current per unit length at the surface area of the bar in
A/m
2
(645jlA/in.
2
), which can be measured on site based on
the determination of the polarization resistance (Andrade and
Alonso 2001). A recent study by Jang et al. (2011) suggests
that the corrosion rate can be affected by the crack width of
the cover concrete, according to a linear relationship
(3)
where ieq is the equivalent corrosion current of cracked
concrete; c
8
is the crack geometry factor with a value ranging
from 0.067 to 0.206 (Jang et al. 2011); D and Do are the
diffusion coefiicients of intact concrete and in ti'ee solution
in m
2
/s (1150 in.
2
/s), respectively, with a typical value of D
0
= 2.032 X 10
9
m
2
/s (0.315 X I0
9
in.
2
/s) at 25C (77F); and
w is the equivalent crack width in m (39.4 in.), calculated
from the total crack width minus the threshold crack width
of approximately 80 jlm (0.0032 in.).
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
The thickness of rust layer t, is relatively small compared
to the original radius of the bar r
0
and could be estimated
from the volume of rust over the perimeter of the original
bar. The corrosion penetration rate t,lr
0
, defined as the
ratio of the thickness of rust layer over the original, is then
expressed as
(4)
To accommodate the volume increase due to bar corrosion,
the barconcrete interface is to be displaced by a prescribed
quantity over time t. By neglecting the higherorder terms in
Eq. (1) (assuming d
0
, rs << r
0
), the prescribed displacement
at the interface over time rs(t) can be estimated from
r;(t) =
2nr
0
(5)
The aforementioned displacement will be considered as the
internal boundary constraint for modeling concrete cracking,
as shown in the following section. So far, bar corrosion and
rust expansion have been assumed to be uniformly distrib
uted at the barconcrete interface. A recent study by Jang and
Oh (2010), however, suggests that in actual aggressive envi
ronments, corrosion may start in the bars closest to the free
surfaces (that is, where the cover is a minimum); hence, the
bars may not be uniformly corroded in given cross sections.
However, the difference in crack development and associated
service life between uniform and nonuniform expansions is
rather small, provided that the coefficient of corrosion distri
bution, defined as the ratio of the depth of nonuniform corro
sion to that of equivalent uniform corrosion in Vidal et al.
(2004), does not exceed 2. Hence, assuming uniform corro
sion is acceptable in the cases with relatively small values of
corrosion distribution coefficient, as shown in many studies
(Chernin et al. 2010; Pantazopoulou and Papoulia 2001).
CORROSIONINDUCED CRACKING MODEL
The development of concrete cracking because of bar corro
sion can be modeled according to the thickwalled cylinder
adopted in many investigations (refer to, for instance, Chen
and Xiao [2012], Chernin et al. [2010], and Gambarova et
al. [1998]), as shown in Fig. 2. In this model, the reinforcing
bar has an initial diameter Db embedded in concrete with
a clear cover thickness C. The initial defects at the bar
concrete interface, such as micropore structures, will affect
crack development in cover concretein particular when
the cover thickness is less than 100 mm (3.94 in.) (Zhang
et al. 2010). Hence, a porous zone of thickness d
0
may be
assumed to account for the unevenly distributed voids at the
interface. Initially, the porous zone is gradually filled with
rust until the voids completely disappear. Any further buildup
of expansive rust stresses the surrounding concrete and favors
cracking starting from the interface Rb. Cracking then propa
gates through the cover up to the free surface of concrete Rc.
In the end, the cover is completely cracked. According to the
Cohesive Crack Model, concrete cracking can be modeled
as a process based on tension softening, provided that crack
width does not exceed a critical value (Bazant and Planas
1998). Cracked concrete, therefore, has a reduced crack
widthrelated tensile strength, which vanishes above a critical
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
producm
Fig. 2Sketch of idealization of cracking in cover concrete.
crack width. Above this value, no residual tensile strength is
left, and cracks become discrete and their openings increase
with the development of expansive rust.
Crack initiation
The mass of rust required to completely fill the porous
zone of thickness d
0
can be calculated from
(6)
The time taken for completely filling the porous zone TP
can be estimated using Eq. (2), provided that the corrosion
current icorr is available. Any further expansion of the rust
will cause a stress state in the surrounding concrete.
The thickwalled cylinder model shown in Fig. 2 reduces
the problem to a plane stress problem, as the normal longi
tudinal stress in the concrete is ignored (Chernin et al. 2010;
Pantazopoulou and Papoulia 2001 ). Because the surrounding
concrete remains intact and elastic at this stage, the clas
sical elastic solution concerning the radial axissymmetrical
displacement u in thickwalled cylinders can be expressed
as follows
(7)
where r is the radial distance within the cover; and C
1
and
C
2
are coefficients to be determined by enforcing the boundary
conditions. From the given radial displacement, the radial
stress O'r and the hoop stresses cr
8
can be calculated from
E E 1
cr = c c 
r 1  U I 1 + U 2 r2
E E 1
cra +c22
1u 1+u r
(8a)
(8b)
where E and u are modulus of elasticity and Poisson's ratio
of the intact concrete, respectively. Effective modulus Eef
should be adopted to replace E in Eq. (8) and thereafter to
consider the influence of concrete creep when cracks grow
under sustained loadingthat is, Eef = E/(1 + 9c)where
231
9c is the creep coefficient of the cover concrete (Zhang et al.
201 0). Considering the boundary conditions at the reinforcing
bar surface R" and the free surface of the concrete R
(9a)
(9b)
the coefficients C
1
and C
2
can be determined. The hoop
stress cr
8
is therefore expressed as
cr = b x 1+e xr t
ER [ R
2
)
9
(1u)R/ +(1+u)Re
2
r
2
,()
(10)
The concrete at the bar surface starts cracking when the
hoop stress cr
8
at the bar surface reaches the tensile strength
;;. From Eq. (5) and (10), the required mass of rust can be
calculated from
(11)
Similarly, the time required by cracking to start at the bar
surface T; can be estimated from Eq. (2) on the basis of the
calculated rust mass.
Crack propagation
Numerous investigations on the Cohesive Crack Model
have been conducted, and the experiments show that the
shapes of the softening curve do not vary very much among
the different mixtures of ordinary concrete (Bazant and
Planas 1998). Furthermore, when crack width becomes
significantly large, the tensile strength of cracked concrete
becomes negligible and of no significance. To obtain analyt
ical solutions for the crack growth induced by bar corro
sion, a linear softening (Hillerborg et a!. 1976) is adopted to
model the smeared cracking in the cover
(12)
where O"w is the tensile strength of cracked concrete; Wcr
is the critical normalized crack width (no residual tensile
strength); and W is the normalized actual crack width w(r),
defined as
where GF is the fracture energy of concrete. The total hoop
strain Ee of the cracked concrete consists of the fracture
strain Ee', generated by a total number of nc cracks, and the
linear elastic strain between cracks E
8
e, associated with the
residual tensile hoop stress O"w. The total hoop strain Ee can
then be calculated from
232
Ef = ncw(r) =!, nJ,.h W
9
2n;r E 2n;r
(13a)
(13b)
where lc
11
is characteristic length introduced originally. by
Hillerborg et a!. (197 6) as
EGF
[eh=y
nc is the total number of the cracks in the cover, estimated from
2nR
n =e
c L
c
where the spacing of crack bands Lc is approximately three
times the maximum aggregate size to consider the hetero
geneity of the cover concrete; refer to Bazant and Planas
(1998). The radial displacement u in the cracked concrete is
then expressed as
(14)
where
l =newer l
0
2
1( ch
The secant tensile stiffness of cracked concrete in the hoop
direction
8
is reduced gradually from the initial stiffness E
due to tension softening in the cracked concrete. The reduc
tion ratio of the residual tensile stiffness p can be defined as
f.l. _ 8 _ E8 e _ f, r [ W )
f' X 1
E
9
e + E/ E U ~
(15)
The governing equation for cracked concrete modeled as
anisotropic elastic continuum (Pantazopoulou and Papoulia
2001) can be expressed as
(16)
By introducing the radial displacement u given in Eq. (14),
the governing equation can now be rewritten in terms of the
normalized crack width Was
d
2
W I dW
(/0 r) dr
2
+(/0 3r); dr = 0 (17)
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
The general solution of the aforementioned differential
equation can be expressed as
W
= D [ 1 1 Ito rl]
t l21n +D2
lo(lor) o r
(18)
Two boundary conditions are required to determine two
constants D
1
and D
2
. To estimate the time required by the
cracks to propagate up to the concrete surface across the
cover, crack width is assumed to be zero at the cover surface
Re. From Eq. (14), the displacement boundary condition at
bar surface Rb, given in Eq. (9a), can be rewritten as the
boundary condition for the normalized crack width. These
two boundary conditions are summarized as
(19a)
W =W. = r t R X cr
I (
E ) W
, =R, b J; s ( ) h (to _ Rb )
(19b)
The coefficients D
1
and D
2
in Eq. (18) can now be
expressed as a function of Wb, and the normalized crack
width can then be rewritten herein as
where the crack width coefficient obe(Re, r) is defined as
o R r = (Rc r) +_!_In Re lzo rl
be ( c' ) l (f  R )(f  ) {
2
It  R I
o o cor o ro c
(21)
and the coefficient Obe(Re, Rb) is obtained from Obe(Re, r)
when r = Rb. Considering the free surface of the concrete
described in Eq. (9b), the radial stress cr, at the free surface
can be obtained from the theory of anisotropic elastic
continua for the plane stress problem
)=o (22)
1u dr ' r '
Substituting the radial displacement given in Eq. (14) and
the normalized crack width given in Eq. (20), the normal
ized crack width at the reinforcing bar surface Wb can be
expressed as
Consequently, by using Wb, and from Eq. (19b) and (5),
the mass of rust required for extending the cracks throughout
the cover surface is determined from
M(T T)=[l+(loRh) Wb]xR J; xnDb (24)
r c P R W bE a
h a m
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
Again, the time required by the cracks to fully penetrate
the cover Te can be estimated from Eq. (2). From Eq. (24)
and (4), the corresponding critical corrosion penetration fer
can be determined.
Fully cracked cover
As soon as cracking reaches the concretefree surface, the
cover is completely cracked. To determine two coefficients
D
1
and D
2
in the general solution given in Eq. (18), two
boundary conditions associated with the normalized crack
widths at the bar surface Wb and at the concretefree surface
We have to be introduced
(25a)
(25b)
where We will be determined from the free surface condition
and Wb will be determined from Eq. (19b). The normalized
crack width can now be expressed as
(26)
Poisson's effect associated with the hoop strain in
Eq. (22) can be ignored because the surrounding concrete
cover is completely cracked. From Eq. (22), the normal
ized crack width at the concrete surface We is given by the
following expression
(27)
The normalized crack width at the bar surface Wb over
time can be expressed from Eq. (19b) and (5) as
(28)
Therefore, the crack width at the cover surface We as a
function of time can now be determined from Eq. (27). It is
interesting to see that the crack width at the concrete surface
reaches the critical value at the same time when the crack
width at the bar surface becomes critical. The time taken for
cracks to become critical in concrete Ter can be estimated
from Eq. (28) in which Wb = Wer
Discrete cracks
The Cohesive Crack Model is no longer appropriate
because no residual tensile strength is left in the cracked
concrete, as the cracks in the concrete have reached their
critical value. At the critical time Ten the front of rust Rer is
a M (T T)
R = R + (T ) = R + m r cr p
cr b Y', cr b D
1C b
(29)
233
The increase in volume of corrosion products around the
bar after the critical time Tcr is
(30)
The expansion of rust after the critical time Tc,. implies an
increase of the thickness of the rust layer
(31)
The width of the cracks in the cover increases due to
the progressive expansion of the rust layer. The average
increase of the width in the individual cracks within the
cover past the critical time can be determined from the
increase of the perimeter of the front of the corrosion prod
ucts. The width of the individual cracks is independent of
the radius r at this stage
(32)
Should icorr be kept constant during the time period
required by crack growth, the equivalent crack width over
time t, defined as the cumulated crack width over the cover
(Zhang et a!. 2009), would be as follows
for 0 ~ t ~ Tc
for Tc < t ~ 1'.:,.
fort:> Tc,
(33)
where ac and be are the coefficients concerning the propaga
tion of cohesive cracks in the propagation stage described in
Eq. (27)
(34a)
and ad and bd are the coefficients concerning the growth of
the discrete cracks in the growth stage described in Eq. (32)
(35a)
(35b)
234
It is found that the crack growth induced by bar corrosion
at time t follows a square root law, provided that the current
at the bar interface remains constant throughout the corro
sion process.
STRATEGY FOR OPTIMIZING MAINTENANCE ON
RISKCOSTBENEFIT BASIS
Probabilistic analysis can be a useful tool for assessing
the performance of deteriorating concrete structures affected
by the corrosion of the reinforcement during their service
life. The deterioration of the resistance because of concrete
cracking can be modeled as a stochastic process because
of its uncertainty. In this study, the stochastic deterioration
process and the timedependent reliability approach (Van
Noortwijk and Frangopol 2004) are used to estimate the
probability of failure associated with concrete cracking. The
optimal maintenance decision can then be made by balancing
the costs required for maintenance against the risk of failure.
Gamma Process Model
The Gamma Process Model has been increasingly used
for modeling a stochastic deterioration process in opti
mizing maintenance strategy (Van Noortwijk 2009). The
gamma process is a stochastic process with independent
nonnegative increments having a gamma distribution with a
given average of deterioration rate. Hence, this model seems
appropriate for modeling crack growth inside concrete
cover, which occurs randomly in time under continuous use.
From the definition of the gamma process (Van Noortwijk
and Frangopol 2004 ), the probability density function of
crack growth at time t (t :2: 0) can be described as follows
fw(l>(w) = Ga(w lll(t),A)
l
A n(IJ
n(t) 1 !.w fi  > O
w e , orw_
= f(ll(t))
0 , elsewhere
(36)
where A is scale parameter with A :> 0 , which could be
estimated from statistical estimation methods such as a
Maximum Likelihood Method by maximizing the logarithm
of the likelihood function of the increment of the parameter
(Van Noortwijk 2009);
f(ll(t)) = o ~ vn(IH ev dv
for l'J(t) :> 0 is the gamma function; and l'J(t) is the shape
function and can be obtained from the expected crack growth
discussed in the previous section as
ll(t) = Aw(t) (37)
Here, the following definition is given for the failure
of an RC structure in serviceability and durability: an RC
structure fails as a serviceable and durable structure when
its equivalent crack width exceeds a certain allowable value
for a serviceability limit problem at time TL. The allowable
crack width of the concrete cover wL may vary in accor
dance with the requirements for the serviceability limitfor
example, 0.3 mm (0.12 in.)for aggressive environments
(Zhang et a!. 2009). Also, cracks in cover concrete due to
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
Table 1Concrete material properties
Parameter
Specified strength
Compressive strength
Tensile strength
Modulus of elasticity
Poisson's ratio
Fracture energy
Critical crack width
Stewart and Rosowsky ( 1998).
lPantazopoulou and Papoulia (2001).
Symbol
F,
!c
f,
E
'll
GF
Wa
reinforcing bar corrosion cause significant deterioration of
the resistance of an RC structure. The load capacity and
bond strength could reduce to approximately 80% of their
initial values to an RC element when the corrosion penetra
tion rate reaches approximately 2%, corresponding to crack
width of approximately 0.3 mm (0.12 in.) (TorresAcosta
and MartinezMadrid 2003; Bhargava et al. 2007). Thus, the
lifetime distribution of time to failure associated with crack
width is given by
(38)
where
in which x :2: 0 and ll > 0 is the incomplete gamma func
tion. The probability of failure per unit time at the ith time
interval can then be computed from
P
1
'= F(t;) F(t
1
_
1
) , fori= 1, 2, 3 ... (39)
When the corrosioninduced crack width in the cover
gradually reaches an unacceptable level, the probability of
failure increases and the potential loss caused by the failure
may become unacceptably high. The requirement for repair
therefore becomes critical to reduce the risk of structural
failure and to avoid the unacceptable possible loss.
Maintenance optimization
Maintenance can be modeled as a discrete time renewal
process, whereby the renewals bring a structure back to
its original condition. Two typical types of maintenance
are often used: preventive maintenance before failure and
corrective maintenance after failure (Chen and Alani 2012;
Van Noortwijk 2009). Through timely and effective main
tenance, deterioration can be delayed so that failure in
terms of serviceability and durability is postponed and the
structural lifetime is extended. In this study, the mainte
nance model based on riskcostbenefit balanced criteria is
adopted to optimize maintenance strategy in terms of repair
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
Evaluation Value Reference
 34.5 MPa (5.00 ksi)
.
1.03F, 35.5 MPa (5.15 ksi)
0.69.JJ, 4.1 MPa (0.59 ksi)
4400/c 0,516
27.8 GPa (4032 ksi)

0.18
'
Gfo(J;"' r
88 N/m (0.50 lbf/in.)
'
fcmo
kGF
0.1 mm (0.004 in.)
'
J;
time. Because the planned lifetime of most concrete struc
tures is yery long compared with the possible renew cycle
length, the strategy for riskcostbenefit optimized mainte
nance during the lifetime can be approximately considered
over an unbounded time horizon. From the renew reward
theory (Van Noortwijk 2009), the expected discounted costs
at different dates over time intervals (0, k] are related to the
preventive maintenance cost Cp, the corrective maintenance
cost CF, and the expected renew cycle length
~ I ) *( k )
La p, Cv + 0: I  L P, C,,
c (k) = t ~ l 1 ~ 1
cJ l[( f a' p,) + a" (I  P
1
)]
1 ~ 1 l ~ l
(40)
where k = 1, 2, 3 ... represents the number of time intervals
to be determined; a= (1 + rt
1
is the. discount factor per unit
time; and r is discount rate per unit time. The optimal main
tenance time interval k* is then obtained by minimizing the
expected discounted costs over lifetime.
NUMERICAL EXAMPLE
An RC structure exposed to an aggressive environment
with a service life of 60 years is used in the following to
demonstrate the applicability of the proposed strategy for
riskcostbenefit optimized maintenance. A typical bar and
its cover concrete of the RC members, as shown in Fig. 2,
are taken for the investigation of the crack growth due to
reinforcing bar corrosion and for the evaluation of the optimal
repair strategy. The typical bar of a diameter of 12 mm
(0.47 in.) is embedded into a concrete member with an average
clear cover thickness of 39 mm (1.54 in.). The concrete has
a specified compressive strength of 34.5 MPa (500 ksi), as
shown in Table 1. Concrete fracture energy GF is estimated
from the compressive strength, where the maximum aggre
gate size is assumed to be 25 mm (0.98 in.). The critical crack
width Wcr (cohesive crack opening at zero residual strengtg)
is a function of the fracture energy and the given maximum
aggregate size. The total crack number nc is calculated from
nc = 2nRcfLc = 4 in the case in question, which agrees with
the experimental results in TorresAcosta and Sagues (2004).
A porous zone with a thickness of do = 12.5 jlm (0.0005 in.)
(Liu and Weyers 1998) and a concrete creep coefficient of
8c = 1 (Zhang et al. 2010) are considered in the calculations.
Various values of corrosion rate are adopted to investigate
235
0.10 ..,
0.08
:: 0.06
It
.
.
"II
0.04
B
!
Q 0.02
+ Prediction by lhis sludy
:lK Tom:!rAcostu. & Sa8J.1ea 2004, Long anode lenglb
fl. Torre .. Acosta & Sague 2004
0 Torre .. Acosla & Sagues 2004
+ TorresAeoSia & Sagues 2004
*
+
fl. 0
0.00
CoverCObn dl1meter
Fig. 3Critical corrosion penetration tcr of steel reinforce
ment as function of concrete covertoreinforcingbar diam
eter ratio C;Db, compared with available experimental data in
TorresAcosta and Sagues (2004). (Note: 1 mm = 0.0394 in.)
10.00 ..:.:r<doii:::by.,.:,ludy:.  ....
:1 .. MII1iluMidriif lOOl,Rit
+
0.001 0.010
Corrotlopeuetradoa nte
0100
Fig. 4Equivalent crack width w as function of corrosion
penetration rate t,lr
0
, compared with experimental data from
accelerated and natural corrosion tests in TorresAcosta
and MartinezMadrid (2003) and Vidal et al. (2004 ). (Note:
1 mm = 0.0394 in.)
3.0 .,.... ,
X Corrosion cummt icorr = 0,3
IJ Corrosion cuuent icorr = 0,5
l:J. Conosion cunenl icon = I .0
o Corrosion current icorr = 2.0
0 Corrosion cunent icorr = 5.0
10 20 30
Time, year
40 50 60
Fig. 5Equivalent crack widths at cover surface (we) over
time t for various mean annual corrosion currents icorr per
unit length (unit: j.JA/cm
2
). (Note: 1 mm = 0.0394 in.; 1 J1A1
cm
2
= 6.45 j.JA/in.
2
)
its influence on crack evolution in the cover and the optimal
repair time associated with concrete cracking.
The results in Fig. 3 show the critical corrosion penetra
tion tcr at the time required by cracks to reach the free surface
as a function of concrete covertoreinforcingbar diameter
ratio (C!Db). To minimize the influence of localized steel
236
0.8
i
06
'; .
:zs
0.4
0,2
10 20
X 0.3mm(0.012in)
o Acceplable liml 0.4mm (0 0 16in)
6 Acceplablelimil 0.5mm(0.020in)
30
Time, year
40 50 60
Fig. 6Lifetime distribution of time to failure F(t) for
various acceptable crack width limits.
corrosion on the critical corrosion penetration, experimental
results in TorresAcosta and Sagues (2004) with a cover
toanode length ratio of less than 0.18 are adopted in the
study. Then, the results predicted by the proposed method
are plotted for comparison with the available experimental
data. From Fig. 3, the predicted critical corrosion penetra
tion increases as the C/Db increases, agreeing well with
the previous experimental results. The results in Fig. 4 are
for the equivalent crack width w over time as a function of
the corrosion penetration rate t,.lr
0
. The predicted results
are then compared with previous experimental investiga
tions obtained from accelerated or natural corrosion tests in
concrete (TorresAcosta and MartinezMadrid 2003; Vidal
et al. 2004). Here again, the predicted results for the crack
growth in the cover due to corrosion agree well with the
available experimental data.
To investigate the effect of the corrosion current icorr on
crack evolution, various values of the corrosion rate ranging
from 0.3 to 5.0 j.t.A/cm
2
(1.94 to 32.25 j.t.A/in.
2
) corre
sponding to lowtohigh corrosion intensities are adopted to
predict the crack width at the concrete as shown in
Fig. 5. The corrosion rate increases with the development
of crack width when the equivalent crack width exceeds the
threshold value. The results indicate that the crack width at
the concrete surface largely depends on the corrosion rate
icorr The predicted value of crack width is three times as
much when the corrosion rate increases from 1.0 to 5.0 j.t.A/
cm
2
(6.45 to 32.25 j.t.A/in.
2
).
The deterioration of the structural performance in terms of
serviceability and durability (measured by the growth of the
equivalent crack width) is modeled as a gamma process. The
results of the lifetime distribution of time to failure F(t) are
shown in Fig. 6 for different acceptable limitsfor example,
WL = 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 mm (0.012, 0.016, and 0.020 in.),
respectively. As expected, the probability of failure associ
ated with the equivalent crack width depends on the given
acceptable limit, with a higher probability of failure for a
lower acceptable level at any given time. The probability
of failure increases steadily over time and reaches approxi
mately 50% at the time when the expected equivalent crack
width is equal to the given acceptable limit. As shown in
Fig. 5, crack width in the cover is significantly affected by
the mean annual corrosion current icorr The probability of
failure is thus strongly related to the corrosion rate, as indi
cated in Fig. 7, where various corrosion rates ranging from
0.3 to 5.0 j.t.A/cm
2
(1.94 to 32.25 j.t.A/in.
2
) are considered.
The probability of failure rapidly goes to unity in the case of
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
e
.!!
08
0.6
0
:E
.! 0.4
E
0.2
10 20 30
Time, year
X icorr = 0,3
0 icorr=0,5
.0. icorr::;: I ,0
D icorr=2.0
<> Lcorr=S.O
40 50 60
Fig. 7Lifetime distribution of time to failure F(t) for
various mean annual corrosion currents icorr (unit: pA!cm
2
).
(Note: 1 pA!cm
2
= 6.45 pA/in.
2
)
relatively high values of the corrosion rate, with an estimated
time of approximately 5 years to approach 100% probability
of failure when icorr = 5.0 jlA/cm
2
(32.25 jlA!in.
2
).
To find an optimal value of the repair time, the cost
defined in Eq. (40) is minimized with respect to the value of
time interval k. Only relative values of the preventive main
tenance cost Cp and the corrective maintenance cost CF are
needed in the calculations. The corrective maintenance cost
CF for an RC bridge with 60 years of design life, including
traffic delay costs, is taken herein as CF = 1440/tonne (in
pound sterling per 1000 kg, 1 "' $1.56, $2246/short ton),
as indicated in Concrete Bridge Development Group (1995).
The preventive maintenance cost Cp = 216/tonne ($372/
short ton) is adopted in this study, giving Cp/CF = 0.15.
Figure 8 shows the results for the expected relative costs as
a function of repair time for various acceptable limits, where
the annual discount rate of 5% is considered. The results
show that the optimal repair times are 5.7 years for WL =
0.3 mm (0.012 in.), 8.9 years for WL = 0.4 mm (0.016 in.),
and 12.3 years for wL = 0.5 mm (0.020 in.), respectively.
In Fig. 9, the optimal repair time is plotted as a function
of mean annual corrosion current icorr for various accept
able crack width limits. It is obvious that the corrosion rate
has a significant impact on the optimal repair timefrom
34.7 years for icorr = 0.3 jlA/cm
2
(1.94 jlA/in.
2
) to 1.7 years
for icorr = 5.0 jlA/cm
2
(32.25 jlA/in.
2
) in the case of accept
able crack width limit WL = 0.4 mm (0.016 in.).
Figure 10 shows the influence of the preventive mainte
nance cost Cp on the optimal repair time, where the preven
tive maintenance cost ranges from Cp = 0.1CF to 0.5CF. The
acceptable crack width WL is set at 0.3 mm (0.012 in.) in
this case and the mean annual corrosion current per unit
length is assumed to be icorr = 1.0 jlA/cm
2
(6.45 jlA/in.Z) in
the calculations. It can be seen that the value of the optimal
repair time increases when the preventive maintenance
cost goes up from 4.9 years for Cp = 0.1CF to 12.3 years
for Cp = 0.5Cp. The results also show that earlier repairs
are necessary to reduce the risk of failure if the preventive
maintenance cost is relatively low. In the case with a higher
preventive maintenance cost, the optimal repair time can be
delayed, but it should be earlier than the expected time to
failure if failure criteria is controlled by crack width.
CONCLUSIONS
Different phases in the deterioration process of RC struc
tures because of corrosioninduced concrete cracking are
ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013
3000 r. ,
2500
"' 2000
..r
8
J 1500
l
"
" 1000
500
X Acceptable limit 0.3mm(O.Ol2in)
o Acceptable limit 0.4mm (0,016in)
t> Acceptable limit 0.5mm (0.020in)
0 I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Time, year
Fig. 8Expected costs over repair time interval with
discounting of annual rate of 5% as function of repair time
for various acceptable crack width limits, cost in pound ster
ling. (Note: 1 ""'$1.56.)
6.0 .,
s.o
"a
>< Acceptable limit OJmm (0.012in)
i
4.0
e Acceptable limit 0.4mm (0.016in)
....
tr Acceplablelimit O.Smm (0.020in)
e
3.0
.
0
'II
2.0
E
a
1.0
0.0
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Time, yen
Fig. 90ptimal repair time as function of mean annual
corrosion current icorr for various acceptable crack width
limits. (Note: 1 pA!cm
2
= 6.45 pA!in.
2
)
4800
4000
"'
i 3200
...
1 2400
"
.,
1600
800
X CP=O.lxCP
0 CP=0,2xCF
a CP= 0.3xCF
+
C CP=0.5xCP
0 I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Time, year
Fig. 1 0Expected costs with discounting as function of
repair time for various preventive maintenance costs Cr,
cost in pound sterling, WL = 0.3 mm (0.012 in.), and icorr =
1.0 pA/cm
2
(6.45 pA!in.
2
). (Note: 1 ==$1.56.)
discussed and the time period for each phase is evaluated
from the proposed approach. The development of concrete
cracking caused by bar corrosion at various stages is investi
gated. The Stochastic Deterioration Model is then employed
to evaluate the probability of failure associated with the
growth of cracking across the cover concrete. The optimized
strategy for the repair time is illustrated on the basis of the
minimization of the balance between the maintenance costs
237
and the risk of failure in serviceability and durability. The
influence of corrosion rate on the cracking development in
the cover and the optimal repair time are discussed in terms
of optimized risk and cost.
On the basis of the results from the numerical example
involving an RC structure, the following conclusions can be
drawn: 1) the proposed analytical model can correctly predict
the growth of concrete cracking because of bar corrosion at
different stages of crack propagation. The numerical results
are in good agreement with the available experimental data
and indicate that the corrosion rate is the dominant factor
affecting the crack growth across the cover; 2) the proposed
deterioration model based on the gamma process and strictly
related to crack growth makes it possible to evaluate the life
time distribution of time to failure for the deteriorating struc
ture; 3) the optimal maintenance strategy during the service
life of a structure affected by bar corrosion can be determined
by optimizing the balance between the risk of failure and the
maintenance costs; and 4) the optimal repair time largely
depends on the corrosion rate, the acceptable crack width
limit, and the preventive maintenance cost. Further efforts
are needed to include the effect of nonuniform bar corrosion
and the crackinduced strength deterioration due to bar corro
sion in the optimizing repair strategy.
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ACI Structural Journal/MarchApril 2013