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Galvanic corrosion properties of steel in water saturated concrete



Aluminum-based sacrificial anodes were installed to reinforced concrete to stop ongoing corrosion in cooling water tunnels in a Swedish nuclear power plant. The steel rebars were also unintentionally connected to stainless steel water pumps. Therefore, the consumption rate of the sacrificial anodes was higher than predicted. An experimental and a field study were performed to assess if the steel rebar suffer from galvanic corrosion and if the stainless steel pumps are responsible alone for the high consumption rate. It was found from the experimental study that there is an increased risk of galvanic corrosion for steel rebar when the corrosion potential is raised to −200 mV (SCE) for samples with 1% Cl by mass of cement and −500 mV (SCE) for samples with 2% Cl by mass of cement. The experimental results were compared with the corrosion potential measured in the cooling water tunnel where sacrificial anodes were in use and not mounted at all. The cooling water tunnel without sacrificial anodes had generally more anodic corrosion potentials compared to the tunnel with anodes. The tunnel with anodes had also more anodic potentials closer to the stainless steel pumps than further away which means that the rebar is affected by the stainless steel pumps. However, the measured corrosion potentials in the tunnels were not as anodic as the potentials needed for high galvanic current measured in the experimental study.