Semiconductive Properties of Passive Films on Carbon Steel Rebar in Highly Alkaline Environments

Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Salon C (Hilton Chicago)


In the highly alkaline environment of concrete, carbon steel rebar is protected against corrosion by a passive oxide/oxyhydroxide film. Understanding the characteristics of this passive film, and how it depassivates, is the key to mitigate problems associated with steel corrosion in concrete. Although a large number of electrochemical and analytical studies have been conducted on the passivity of steel in concrete, current mechanistic models do not explain all experimental observations about the chloride-induced depassivation process. One area that is not studied extensively is the electronic properties of passive films which show semi-conductive properties; a better understanding of these properties will provide additional information to improve the mechanistic models for chloride-induced depassivation of carbon steel in concrete. The present study uses Mott-Schottky (M-S) analysis along with other electrochemical techniques to study the electronic properties of passive films that form on carbon steel exposed to simulated concrete pore solutions. Both passivation and chloride-induced depassivation processes are investigated, and changes in electronic properties during these processes are monitored. The main parameters of the study include the concrete pore solution composition, pH, and chloride amount. Challenges of using M-S analysis to study the electronic properties of passive films will also be discussed.