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Preventing Corrosion in Bridges

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Corrosion is essentially defined as the destruction of metal or alloy by chemical or electro-chemical reaction with its
environment. The major factors affecting rate of corrosion in Bridges are:
Voltage differential between pure and impure areas.
Physical conditions of Temperature, humidity
Oxygen in the air.

FFPs Frequently Faced Problems


Bridges are constantly exposed to the moisture and salts
from the water bodies and air. In concrete bridges the
process of electrolytic corrosion decreases the shelf life.
Bridges are constantly subjected to immense wear and tear
due to dynamic vehicular load s Over loading due to
increase in wheel loads and regular exposure to aggressive
external environment aggravate the situation further.
Poor quality of construction and lack of regular maintenance
leads to major retrofit in bridge structure. Defects in
constituent material may be manifested in form of cracking
spalling of concrete, excessive deflection of structure,
rusting of steel components etc.
Ferrous metals such as iron and steel that form the main building blocks for bridges corrode in the presence of
moisture and oxygen to form rust.
Presence of high levels of chloride in the coastal/ marine areas aggravate the deterioration of steel.
Furthering the damage is the presence of all crevices, cavities, bolts and small air gaps( as in wire bridges) that
becomes the collecting point of agents of corrosion as soil, water and other atmospheric pollutants.
The presence of dissimilar metals, stray currents can lead to intense localized corrosion.

General Recommendations: RH to be maintained


It is generally recommended that the RH to be maintained for preventing corrosion in Bridge s is below 40%.

Dew Point of the Air


The Dew Point to be maintained is -10C at ambient temperature.

Solutions
In order to prevent corrosion of ferrous parts, the controlled space is maintained at specific relative humidity and
temperature so that the products or material in the controlled space do not adsorb moisture from the surrounding.
Metalizing: One efficient option for increasing the life-cycle cost and durability is through metalizing with active
metals such as zinc, aluminium, and their alloys. This is helpful in producing long-lasting protective coating on all
concrete and steel structures.
Wire Bridge: Also known as suspension bridges these are made up from small steel wires which are bundled up to
increase the strength and thereafter anchored on the ground and the top of the bridges. These bundled wires have
small air gaps in between and these gaps are continuously fed by dehumidified air to avoid any type of corrosion.
In general suspension bridge/ wire have benefited from dehumidification in two areas:
Cable anchorage
Cable protection

At the base of the bridge where these wires are anchored with girders and concrete, the small rooms are
dehumidified. At the anchorage of main cables the dehumidifier maintains a Rh of 40 % all the time. At this
humidity level corrosion rate drops to negligible value.
Booster fans are required to maintain the flow of the air across the wires.
Girder Bridge: These bridges are without the wire.
Damp air inside the chambers is drawn through a Metal Silicate Fluted Synthesized Rotor which absorbs moisture
from the air through a process of continuous ' physical adsorption'.
Moisture is adsorbed in the dehumidification sector by the fluted metal silicate desiccant synthesized rotor and is
exhausted in the reactivation sector by a stream of hot air in the counter flow. Following the reactivation process,
the adsorption sector is again ready to adsorb the moisture. Positive sealing between chambers prevents mixing of
process and reactivation air stream.
The relative humidity inside the chambers is thus reduced to about 35 %, which is low enough to stop the cables
corroding.
Dehumidification is an effective way to reduce life cycle cost because the cost of painting the girder is reduced.
This allows for uniform removal of humidity without concentration of moisture.
All the concrete block rooms have to be dehumidified at the anchoring positions .

Applications
Wire Bridge
Girder Bridge

Solutions
Atmospheric moisture causes condensation on the metal surface, which results in oxidation and corrosion of the
precision parts. This affects their reliability and impairs their performance, which can lead damage of machinery
and to loss of inventory.
Bry-Air's recommendation is to install a Bry-Air desiccant dehumidifier as they are capable of maintaining dew point
as low as -60C regardless of ambient conditions and thus are ideal for preventing corrosion in bridges.

Created on: 31st August 2010

Modified on: 03rd September 2010