Simulation and analysis of rust expansion cracking of reinforced concrete

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  • Wenqiang Xu
  • Caihong Zhang
  • Yu Li


Original languageEnglish
Article number136199
Journal / PublicationConstruction and Building Materials
Online published12 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2024


Reinforced concrete is used in complex environment, and the damage of concrete protective layer caused by steel corrosion will seriously reduce the durability of the structure. In order to deal with the different corrosion morphology of steel bars in engineering, three different function expressions are proposed to describe the uniform and non-uniform corrosion of steel bars. Based on PF_CZM phase field model and adaptive refinement mesh technology, the cracking of concrete protective layer caused by different corrosion types of steel bars is simulated. The simulation results are close to the experimental or actual observed crack propagation. The research shows that the non-uniform corrosion coefficient (α) of steel bars affects the crack propagation form of protective layer. When α=1,2, the thinnest part of the protective layer will be penetrated by the main crack, and two secondary cracks will be produced on both sides. The characteristic displacement in the process of crack propagation is similar, and the maximum expansion displacement of steel bar is less than 125 μm when there is obvious crack in the protective layer. When α=4,8, the protective layer will produce two main cracks. The corrosion characteristic displacement is also similar, and the maximum expansion displacement of steel bars exceeds 180 μm when there are obvious cracks in the protective layer. However, with the increase of non-uniform corrosion coefficient, the amount of steel corrosion required for obvious damage and cracks gradually decreases, and the structure is more likely to be damaged. When non-uniform corrosion occurs in both longitudinal and transverse directions of steel bars, cracks will originate from the most serious corrosion of steel bars and spread to both sides. Compared with the two-dimensional simulation results, the simulated crack propagation morphology and the predicted structural durability results are more accurate. The coarse mesh is used to verify the adaptability of the method to the project, which provides reference for the engineering design and durability research of concrete structures. © 2024 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Phase field method, Reinforced concrete, Non-uniform corrosion coefficient, Crack propagation morphology, Structural durability