The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 56-08 [New]

Using Cathodic Protection to Mitigate Corrosion of Reinforced Concrete and Structural Steel Components of Highway Structures

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2024 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Edward T. Harrigan
Research Agency: -----
Principal Investigator: -----
Fiscal Year: 2024

Preliminary Scope

In 2003, the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) estimated that the cost of corrosion to bridge infrastructure was $8.3 billion annually. In a follow-up study in 2013, the global cost of corrosion was estimated to be US$2.5 trillion, which was equivalent to 3.4% of the global GDP. Ten years on, those costs are likely to have substantially increased. Corrosion deterioration of highway bridges significantly impacts the overall service life of the structures, which can lead to costly repairs for the bridge owners and high indirect costs and disruption for the users. The application of cathodic protection (CP) can control corrosion and extend the service life of highway structures. Many state DOTs use CP in various applications, depending on their regional environments and experience with the technology, to preserve and extend the service life of structures.

Several different CP products, solutions, and applications are available for mitigation of reinforced concrete or structural steel corrosion, and new technologies are being developed each year. Highway structures throughout the United States are exposed to a wide variety of environments (e.g., a marine structure in coastal Florida, a bridge in Minnesota exposed to deicing chemicals) for which corrosion challenges vary. Therefore, DOTs use an array of CP solutions to maintain structures across a range of environments. The methods by which DOTs monitor these systems also varies.

The objective of the synthesis is to document (1) the different types of CP methods and their applications to mitigate corrosion in reinforced concrete and structural steel components of highway structures and (2) how DOTs currently implement and manage various CP systems.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • Existing CP products used by the DOTs;
  • How DOTs are implementing CP technologies and using them for bridge preservation;
  • Alternative CP systems (e.g., passive galvanic systems versus active impressed current systems) for common highway structure applications;
  • CP systems management practices, including monitoring, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and adjustment or modification;
  • Challenges to successful installation and long-term operation of different CP technologies; and
  • Case examples from states that implement CP.

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected DOTs with significant experience in deploying CP. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial)

A detailed literature search has not been undertaken, but relevant information is expected to be available through

  • Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP) (formerly NACE) committees and publications
  • AASHTO TSP-2 Bridge Preservation Partnerships website
  • Individual State DOT websites (design and operation policies, research, and development reports, etc.)

TRB Staff
Edward Harrigan
Phone: 540-454-2149
Email: eharrigan@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel Meeting: October 2, 2024 (Virtual via Microsoft Teams)
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel Meeting: TBD (Virtual via Microsoft Teams)

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