What is concrete corrosion?

Concrete is a composite material of water, cement, sand, and aggregate. It is widely used in construction due to its strength, versatility, and relatively low cost. However, concrete is susceptible to corrosion, weakening the material and compromising its structural integrity. Concrete corrosion is a common problem that affects the durability and lifespan of concrete structures and infrastructure. This article will explore the causes, signs, and methods of prevention.

Table of Contents

Causes of concrete corrosion

There are several contributing factors. The most common cause is the presence of water, which can form cracks and pores in the concrete. Water can also facilitate the penetration of other contaminants, such as chemicals and salt, which can react with the concrete. The use of deicing salts during winter can also accelerate corrosion, particularly in regions with cold climates. The presence of steel reinforcement may also be a contributing factor, as the steel can rust when exposed to water and oxygen. Different environments can also affect the rate of the reaction. For example, concrete exposed to extreme temperatures or humid conditions is more prone to corrosion than concrete protected from the elements.

Cracked grey concrete wall.

Signs of concrete corrosion

Several signs can indicate concrete corrosion. One common sign is the appearance of cracks or pitting on the surface of the concrete. These defects can weaken the concrete and make it more susceptible to further damage. Another sign is spalling, which is the flaking or peeling of the concrete surface. Spalling can be caused by the expansion of corrosion products within the concrete, which can cause the surface to break off. It may also affect the structural integrity of a building or other structures. For example, it may lead to the failure of steel reinforcement, which can cause the concrete to collapse or deform.

Corroded concrete wall.

Prevention and repair

Several preventative measures can be taken. One effective method is proper curing, which involves keeping the concrete moist and at a constant temperature during the early stages of the curing process. This helps ensure that the concrete hardens properly and becomes more corrosion-resistant. Another preventive measure is using sealants or coatings, which can help to protect the concrete from water and other contaminants. Corrosion inhibitors can also be added to the concrete mix to reduce the risk.


Intelligent concrete monitoring sensors can also detect and prevent corrosion. These sensors can be embedded in the concrete and connected to a monitoring system that tracks the condition of the concrete in real-time. The sensors can detect changes in temperature, humidity, and other factors affecting the corrosion rate and alert maintenance personnel to potential issues. This can help identify problems early on before they become severe and costly.


If concrete has already been damaged, there are several options for repair. One option is patching, which involves filling cracks or pitting with repair material. Another option is resurfacing, which consists of applying a new concrete layer over the damaged area. In more severe cases, removing and replacing the damaged concrete may be necessary in more severe cases. In any case, it is essential to address concrete corrosion as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure the safety and integrity of the structure

Gaia 200 with a construction site in the background.

Using intelligent sensors to prevent concrete corrosion

One of the advantages of using intelligent sensors is that they can continuously monitor the condition of the concrete and provide early warning of any potential issues. This allows maintenance personnel to take timely action to address any problems, which can help to prevent further damage and extend the lifespan of the concrete. Additionally, sensors can help optimise maintenance schedules and reduce the need for costly and disruptive repairs.

Intelligent sensors are a relatively new technology but have already shown promise in corrosion prevention. By providing real-time data on the condition of the concrete, these sensors can help to improve the safety and reliability of concrete structures and infrastructure. As the technology continues to evolve, intelligent sensors will likely become an increasingly important tool in the fight against concrete corrosion.

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Concrete corrosion is a severe problem that can compromise the safety and longevity of concrete structures. By understanding the causes and signs of corrosion and taking preventive measures such as proper curing, sealing, and corrosion inhibitors, it is possible to extend the lifespan of concrete and reduce the risk of costly repairs. Intelligent concrete monitoring sensors can also help detect and prevent it by alerting maintenance personnel to potential issues before they become serious. Suppose you are concerned about the condition of your concrete. In that case, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a professional engineer or contractor who can assess the extent of the damage and recommend the most appropriate course of action.

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