Title page for ETD etd-11212008-132330

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kashyap, Anusha Venkitachalam
URN etd-11212008-132330
Title Effects of water chemistry, temperature, gaseous cavitation & phosphate inhibitors on concrete corrosion
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Edwards, Marc A. Committee Chair
Dietrich, Andrea M. Committee Member
Parks, Jeffrey Committee Member
  • concrete
  • leaching
  • phosphate inhibitors
  • Corrosion
Date of Defense 2008-09-29
Availability unrestricted

Concrete corrosion has serious societal and economic impacts and is an important concern in a utility’s overall corrosion control strategy. Though concrete based pipes and linings are only restricted to the distribution mains, they still make up a large percentage of the drinking water infrastructure at about 17% of its total length. An improved understanding of the corrosion mechanisms involved steps that can be taken to mitigate concrete corrosion are very important. This study examined the role of phosphate chemicals, water chemistry, temperature and gaseous cavitation on the degradation of cement-based pipes and linings. It also provides information for utilities to make informed decisions regarding the use, effectiveness, and application of phosphate corrosion inhibitors relative to concrete corrosion control.

Under low alkalinity and low pH conditions, considered to be highly aggressive in the literature, we noticed very substantial corrosion of concrete in laboratory experiments. At high pH and high alkalinity conditions, the buildup of scale (e.g., calcium carbonate) on the inside of the pipe is the major concern. The addition of phosphate inhibitors strongly influenced both concrete corrosion and scaling. At low alkalinity the addition of zinc orthophosphate or polyphosphate reduced corrosion of concrete. The addition of orthophosphate under low alkalinity conditions increased aluminum leaching and could push aluminum concentrations above the EPA SMCL threshold. At high alkalinity conditions the addition of orthophosphate is highly effective at reducing scaling, and aluminum leaching was not a concern.

The presence of high concentrations of magnesium and silicon could form magnesium aluminum oxyhydroxides and magnesium silicates which could act as a protective scale on the concrete surface. However, this precipitate forms only at pH values above 9.5. The effectiveness of this protective scale in reducing corrosion of concrete was not established unambiguously in this research. Temperature plays a key role in corrosion of concrete. Calcite solubility increases at lower temperatures however at higher temperatures corrosion of concrete increases, which implies that corrosion of concrete is not driven by calcite solubility. At higher alkalinities scaling of concrete is higher at lower temperatures. This indicates that calcite solubility controls scaling of concrete at higher alkalinities. Tests with gaseous cavitation indicate that corrosion of concrete does not increase in the presence of gaseous cavitation. Vaporous cavitation is more detrimental to concrete than gaseous cavitation.

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