Protection of reinforcement steel using corrosion inhibitors

  • Brief summary of the problem under investigation

Reinforced concrete plays a very important role in our daily lives. It is present in the most civil and road structures. Although hidden, reinforced concrete contains, by definition, metal parts. Steel bars give reinforcement and support these structures. They are also a frequent cause of deterioration and failure.

Corrosion resistance is mainly due to the natural formation of a surface oxide film when steel is in contact with a strongly alkaline material such as concrete. While this film is very protective, acidification of the material (due to the penetration of carbon dioxide and chloride ions from the marine environment) is sufficient to initiate the corrosion process. The use of corrosion inhibitors based on nitrite is widespread as a preventive measure. The use of phosphates is just emerging. Their efficiency strongly depends on the relationship between the concentration of inhibitors and chloride ions, of the content of carbonates (degree of carbonation), as well as the pH of the medium. Understanding the mechanism of action of these inhibitors is crucial to anticipate and predict the external factors that may affect the structure stability.

Publications (last 5 years) 

  • M.A. Frontini, M. Vázquez and M. B. ValcarceImpact of Nitrites and Phosphates on the Electrical Properties of the Passive Film Formed on Steel in Concrete Pore Simulating Solutions". Accepted for publication in the Corrosion in Concrete Structures issue of "ECS Transactions" (ECST) from the ECS National Harbor meeting (2017).
  • Toujas, S., Vázquez, M., Valcarce, M.B. Unexpected effect of citrate ions on the corrosion process of carbon steel in alkaline solutions (2017) Corrosion Science, 128, pp. 94-99.
  • Yohai, L., Valcarce, M.B., Vázquez, M. Testing phosphate ions as corrosion inhibitors for construction steel in mortars (2016) Electrochimica Acta, 202, pp. 316-324.
  • Yohai, L., Schreiner, W., Vázquez, M., Valcarce, M.B. Phosphate ions as effective inhibitors for carbon steel in carbonated solutions contaminated with chloride ions (2016) Electrochimica Acta, 202, pp. 231-242.
  • Yohai, L., Schreiner, W., Valcarce, M.B., Vázquez, M. Inhibiting steel corrosion in simulated concrete with low phosphate to chloride ratios (2016) Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 163 (13), pp. C729-C737.
  • Yohai, L., Schreiner, W.H., Vázquez, M., Valcarce, M.B. Brass corrosion in chlorinated tap water inhibited by phosphate ions (2015) Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry, 19 (5), pp. 1559-1568.
  • Yohai, L., Schreiner, W.H., Vázquez, M., Valcarce, M.B. Phosphate ions as inhibiting agents for copper corrosion in chlorinated tap water (2013) Materials Chemistry and Physics, 139 (2-3), pp. 817-824.
  • Yohai, L., Vázquez, M., Valcarce, M.B. Phosphate ions as corrosion inhibitors for reinforcement steel in chloride-rich environments (2013) Electrochimica Acta, 102, pp. 88-96.
  • Procaccini, R., Schreiner, W.H., Vázquez, M., Ceré, S. Surface study of films formed on copper and brass at open circuit potential (2013) Applied Surface Science, 268, pp. 171-178.



Dra. Marcela Vázquez
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agencia 2

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conicet 2 

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ministerio 2 

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UNMdP Facultad de Ingeniería
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Buenos Aires - Argentina
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