A critical review of corrosion development and rust removal techniques on the structural/environmental performance of corroded steel bridges

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Corrosion is one of the most severe threats to the stability of steel bridges and regular rust removal techniques is needed for the maintenance of steel bridges. Currently the correlation between rust development/removal process and the structural/environmental performance of the steel bridges has not been fully understood. This study intends to fill this knowledge gap through critically reviewing. The characteristic analysis of the rust on the corroded steel bridges was first introduced, which provided information that was needed to understand the corrosion mechanisms and classify the rust type. Then the related rust removal techniques (chemical and physical methods) are analyzed by considering the environmental impact and cleaning efficiency. Based on the discussion, the laser cleaning method is proposed due to its cleaning efficiency and environmentally friendliness. After that, the influence of developed rust (uniform and pitting) on the structural performance (static and dynamic) of steel members were summarized. Through the discussion, the potential environmental impact of the corroded steel bridges was identified, including runoff of heavy metal and bacteria growth caused by iron rust. Besides that, an improved kinetic model was proposed by considering the influence of rust removal on the corrosion rate. Furthermore, the structural impact of laser cleaning was simulated with the finite element analysis. This study will serve as solid base for the future studies of corrosion development and rust removal on steel bridges, and the proposed technical routes can be proceeded during future studies to better understand the environmental and structural performance of the steel bridges.

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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.06.023

Publication Title

Journal of Cleaner Production