Pitting corrosion and structural reliability of corroding RC structures: Experimental data and probabilistic analysis

Mark G. Stewart*, Ali Al-Harthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Citations (Scopus)


A stochastic analysis is developed to assess the temporal and spatial variability of pitting corrosion on the reliability of corroding reinforced concrete (RC) structures. The structure considered herein is a singly reinforced RC beam with Y16 or Y27 reinforcing bars. Experimental data obtained from corrosion tests are used to characterise the probability distribution of pit depth. The RC beam is discretised into a series of small elements and maximum pit depths are generated for each reinforcing steel bar in each element. The loss of cross-sectional area, reduction in yield strength and reduction in flexural resistance are then inferred. The analysis considers various member spans, loading ratios, bar diameters and numbers of bars in a given cross-section, and moment diagrams. It was found that the maximum corrosion loss in a reinforcing bar conditional on beam collapse was no more than 16%. The probabilities of failure considering spatial variability of pitting corrosion were up to 200% higher than probabilities of failure obtained from a non-spatial analysis after 50 years of corrosion. This shows the importance of considering spatial variability in a structural reliability analysis for deteriorating structures, particularly for corroding RC beams in flexure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Concrete
  • Pitting corrosion
  • Spatial variability
  • Structural reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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