Chloride-related steel corrosion initiation in cement paste prepared with the incorporation of blast-furnace slag

Xiang Hu, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Steel corrosion caused by chloride penetration is an important problem in construction practices threatening the long-term durability of reinforced concrete structures. In this study, the effects of blast-furnace slag on the passivation and corrosion processes of carbon steel embedded in cement pastes were investigated by electrochemical measurements, and equivalent circuit models were proposed for analysis of the passivation and corrosion processes. The spatial chloride distributions in the cement paste after corrosion initiation were determined distinguishing between amounts of total, free and bound chloride. The values of the open circuit potential (OCP) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements indicated that the carbon steel embedded in cement pastes was passivated due to the presence of an alkaline pore solution. However, the formation of passive layers on the surface of carbon steel in the slag-blended cement paste was weakened by the more negative OCP value due to a lower pH value and higher sulphide concentration in the pore solution. Upon initiation of corrosion during the electrical acceleration test, the OCP value dropped to a significantly more negative value whereas the Warburg impedance in the equivalent circuit model sharply decreased. Moreover, the addition of slag decreased the threshold chloride concentration at the steel surface to initiate steel corrosion. On the other hand, the enhanced resistance against chloride penetration and the higher chloride binding capacity resulted in an overall increase of the corrosion resistance of carbon steel in slag-blended cement paste.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104349
JournalCement and Concrete Composites
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Cement paste
  • Chloride binding
  • Steel corrosion
  • Threshold chloride concentration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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