Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Alberto A. Sagüés


Marine Exposure, Relative Humidity, Seven-Wire Steel Strand, Shallow Pitting, Wire Bending


Recent failures and severe corrosion distress of post-tensioned (PT) bridges in Florida have revealed corrosion of the 7-wire strands in tendons. Post-tensioned duct assemblies are fitted with multiple 7-wire steel strands and ducts are subsequently filled with grout. During construction, the length of time from the moment in which the strands have been inserted into the ducts, until the ducts are grouted, is referred to as the `ungrouted' period. During this phase, the steel strands are vulnerable to corrosion and consequently the length of this period is restricted (typically to 7 days) by construction guidelines. This investigation focuses on determining the extent of corrosion that may take place during that period, but limited to strands that were in the unstressed condition. Visual inspections and tensile testing were used to identify trends in corrosion development. Corrosion induced cracking mechanisms were also investigated via wire bending and metallographic cross section evaluation. Corrosion damage on unstressed strands during ungrouted periods of durations in the order of those otherwise currently prescribed did not appear to seriously degrade mechanical performance as measured by standardized tests. However the presence of stress in the ungrouted period, as is normally the case, may activate other mechanisms (e.g., EAC) that require further investigation. As expected in the unstressed condition, no evidence of transverse cracking was observed.