Get access

Long-term seismic performance of reinforced concrete bridges under steel reinforcement corrosion due to chloride attack


Correspondence to: Yu-Chen Ou, Department of Construction Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan.



This work presents a new seismic evaluation methodology for corroded reinforced concrete bridges on the basis of nonlinear static pushover analysis. Corrosion of steel reinforcement by chloride attack is considered. At the material level, the effects of corrosion are considered by modeling the degradation of the mechanical properties of steel reinforcement, softening of cover concrete under compression, degradation of core concrete due to confinement steel corrosion, and reduction of bond strength between concrete and steel reinforcement. At the structural level, the effects of corrosion on both flexural behavior and shear behavior, and their interaction are considered. Eleven bridges of various structural types in Taiwan that are located within 6.5 km of their nearest coastline are analyzed to identify their long-term seismic performance. Relationships between the yield and collapse peak ground accelerations (PGAs), and service time and corrosion level are established for each bridge. Analysis results show that chloride corrosion starts in 2–32 years. The transverse steel reinforcement typically starts corroding before the longitudinal steel reinforcement, as the former has a thicker cover. Research results show that collapse PGA reduces by 0.94% or 1.23% per 10 years when the mean value plus 1 or 2 standard deviation of the collapse PGA values are considered, respectively. Therefore, we suggest increasing the design PGA from 4.70% to 6.15% for a bridge adjacent to a coastline to ensure adequate long-term seismic performance for 50 years, the typical design life span of a regular bridge. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.