A reaction engineering approach to the problem of concrete carbonation

TitleA reaction engineering approach to the problem of concrete carbonation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
Papadakis VG, Vayenas CG, Fardis MN
JournalAIChE Journal

Steel bars in reinforced concrete are protected from corrosion by the high pH environment of the surrounding concrete. This alkaline environment is destroyed by the reaction of atmospheric CO2 with the Ca(OH)2 of the concrete mass. When this process, called carbonation of concrete, reaches the reinforcing bars, corrosion of the latter may commence. In this paper, the physiochemical processes in this phenomenon are presented and modeled mathematically. The mathematical model is fairly complex, but certain simplifying assumptions are possible, which lead to the formation of a “carbonation front” and to a simple analytical expression for the evolution in time of this front, in terms of the composition parameters of cement and concrete and of the environmental conditions. This simple expression is in very good agreement with experimental results obtained in this and in previous studies. The effect of some parameters on the carbonation front propagation is also discussed.

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