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  Development of a performance test method to evaluate effectiveness and service life of galvanic anodes used as part of repair systems and cathodic protection in reinforced concrete structures

   Department of Civil Engineering

  Dr Bahman Ghiassi,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

One of the most challenging durability issues and causes of defects in reinforced concrete infrastructures is the corrosion of steel reinforcement, which leads to rust formation, cracking, spalling, delamination and degradation of structures (Popov, 2015 and Michael et al, 2016).

Due to the increasing demand for longer service lives for infrastructure and the high cost involved in reconstruction, the repair of concrete structures has become extremely important (Glass et al, 2000, Highways Agency, 2002). Concrete repair together with electrochemical repair methods such as cathodic protection (CP) have been specified as one of the principles in BS EN 1504-9 to minimise/control the reinforcement corrosion process. An advantage with electrochemical repair methods is to minimise the amount of concrete removal, i.e. those areas of sound concrete contaminated with chloride do not need to be broken out.

CP for reinforced concrete structures has generally been limited to impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) systems due to the relatively high resistivity of concrete, which limits the current output of galvanic anodes (Bertolini et al., 1998).

Since 1990s a range of galvanic anodes have been designed to enhance patch concrete repairs and also provide protection to sound but chloride contaminated concrete (Chess et al, 2014, Das et al, 2010). For patch repairs galvanic anodes provide some life extension to the areas immediately adjacent to concrete repairs and to limit what is known as the ‘incipient anode’ effect. For sound but chloride contaminated concrete however galvanic anodes are anticipated to offer corrosion protection comparable to ICCP systems (Sergi, 2010). A range of galvanic anode products are available on the market with a number of them being fairly new.

The use of galvanic zinc anodes for cathodic protection / corrosion control of steel in reinforced concrete is a subject of increasing interest, especially regarding potential applications on infrastructures affected by chloride contamination. The life of these anodes depends upon the environment in which they are installed; a minimum lifetime of circa 10-years is typically quoted, but in reality this cannot be defined as the life of the anodes depends upon the environment where they are installed, which cannot be controlled.

There is a significant lack of performance data for galvanic anode products in the market. This is due to anodes being introduced recently or not having been tested systematically in the laboratory or in the field due to an absence of a standard test method for galvanic anodes.

The proposed research motives will result in development of a range of physical and electrochemical test method(s) to be used in the evaluation of performance and service life of galvanic anode systems. This work is expected to produce 2-3 high quality scientific papers to be published in high-impact journals (SJR ranking Q1). During the course of this project, you will have the opportunity to have access to, and receive training on, the most advanced and state-of-the-art testing laboratories. You will also collaborate with world-leading industrial partners of the project (i.e. ATKINS) and therefore get insight into current practical issues regarding reinforcement corrosion.

We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated student with good interpersonal skills and a keen interest in research. You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honors degree or a distinction or high merit at MSc level (or international equivalent) in Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Materials science. The candidate will be expected to have good interpersonal skills with a teamwork spirit.

The project will be co-supervised by Dr Bahman Ghiassi, Dr Homayoon Pouya and Professor Essie Ganjian. 

Engineering (12)


• Bertolini, L., F. Bolzoni, P. Pedeferri, L. Lazzari, and T. Pastore. Cathodic Protection and Cathodic Prevention in Concrete. Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, Vol. 28, No. 12, 1998, pp. 1321–1331.
• Chess, P. and Broomfield, J., Cathodic Protection of Steel in Concrete and Masonry, Second Edition, CRC Press, 2014.
• Das, S. D., Sadeghi Pouya, H, Ganjian, E, “Corrosion mitigation of chloride-contaminated reinforced concrete structures: a state-of-the-art review“, Proceedings of the ICE - Construction Materials, Volume 164, Issue 1, Dec. 2010, pp 21 –28.
• Glass, G.K.; Buenfeld, N.R.: Chloride-induced corrosion of steel in concrete. Prog. Struct. Eng. Mater. 2, 448–458 (2000).
• Highways Agency. Cathodic Protection for use in Reinforced Concrete Highway Structures. Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, 2002, Volume 3, Section 3, Part 3, BA 83/02.
• Michel, A.; Otieno, M.; Stang, H.; Geiker, M.R.: Propagation of steel corrosion in concrete: experimental and numerical investigations. Cem. Concr. Compos. 70, 171–182 (2016).
• Popov, B.N.: Corrosion Engineering: Principles and Solved Problems. Elservier, Oxford (2015)
• Sergi, G., Ten‐year results of galvanic sacrificial anodes in steel reinforced concrete, Materials and Corrosion, August 2010

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