Durability and life cycle management of marine concrete structures

The corrosion of steel in concrete structures under severe service conditions (e.g. coastal and marine environments) is by far the largest contributor to the massive infrastructure deterioration problem around the world. In the marine environments, concrete structures with steel reinforcement are frequently subjected to the ingress of chloride or other aggressive ions. The long-term penetration of chloride ions increases the risk of steel corrosion, which causes serious durability problem in the reinforced concrete structures. The reduction in the durability can greatly shorten the length of lifetime for civil infrastructure. To facilitate effective maintenance of corroding concrete infrastructures, monitoring and modeling the degradation of steel and concrete are necessary.


Our group devotes to developing a predictive tool for the corrosion-induced degradation of marine concrete structures with different types of reinforcement and to developing optimal corrosion-prevention and maintenance techniques for different corrosion stages of marine concrete structures (Fig.6.1). Our very recent research efforts include: meso-scale modeling of chloride ingress in concrete on the basis of the X-ray microcomputed tomography (X-ray μCT) (Fig.6.2), monitoring of corrosion-induced cracks in high performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites [e.g., engineered cementitious composite (ECC)], electro-chemical corrosion mechanisms of different types of steel reinforcement in cementitious matrices, and long-term exposure tests of concrete structures in accelerated and in-situ marine environments.

Fig.6.1. Maintenance/intervention of corroded RC structures
Fig.6.2 XCT-based chloride diffusion simulation in concrete materials

Selected Publications

  1. Wang, T., Zheng, J.J. and Dai, J.G.* (2021), Analysis of time-dependent chloride diffusion in surface-treated concrete based on a rapid numerical approach, Structures and Infrastructure Engineering. (DOI)

  2. Qiu, Q. and Dai, J.G.* (2021), Meso-scale Modeling of Chloride Diffusivity in Mortar Subjected to Corrosion-induced Cracking, Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, 36(5),  (DOI)  

  3. Zheng, H.B., Dai, J.G., Poon, C.S.* and Li, W.H. (2021), Influence of a Superplasticizer on Initial Corrosion of Galvanized Steel Bars in Concrete Pore Solution, ASCE, Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 33(6), 0402113.  (DOI)

  4. Qiu, Q.W., Zhu, J.H. and Dai, J.G.*(2020), In-situ X-ray microcomputed tomography monitoring of steel corrosion in engineered cementitious composite (ECC), Construction and Building Materials, 262: 120844. (DOI)

  5. Zhu, W.J., Dai, J.G.* and Poon, C.S.*(2018), Prediction of the Bond Strength between Non-uniformly Corroded Steel Reinforcement and Deteriorated Concrete, Construction and Building Materials, 187: 1267-1276. (DOI)

  6.  Zheng, H.B, Dai, J.-G., Li, W., Poon, C.S.* (2018), Influence of Calcium Ion in Concrete Pore Solution on the Passivation of Galvanized Steel Bars, Cement and Concrete Research, 108: 46-58. (DOI)

  7.  Zheng, H.B, Dai, J.-G., Li, W., Poon, C.S.* (2018), Influence of chloride ion on depassivation of passive film on galvanized steel bars in concrete pore solution, Construction and Building Materials, 166: 572-580. (DOI)

  8. Wang, Y.S. and Dai, J.G.* (2017), X-ray Computed Tomography for Pore-related Characterization and Simulation of Cement Mortar Matrix, NDT&E International, 86(2017): 28-35. (DOI)

  9. Zhu, W., Francois, R., Poon, C.S. and Dai, J.G.* (2017), Influences of Corrosion Degree and Corrosion Morphology on the Ductility of Steel Reinforcement, Construction and Building Materials, 148: 297-306. (DOI)

  10. Xue, X., Li, Y., Yang, Z., He, Z., Dai, J.G.*, Xu, L., Zhang, W.* (2017), A systematic investigation of the water proofing performance and chloride resistance of a self-developed waterborne silane-based hydrophobic agent for mortar and concrete, Construction and Building Materials, 155:939-946. (DOI)

  11. Wang, H.L., Dai, J. G. and Sun, X.Y.* (2017), Chloride Transport in Concrete under Sustained Flexural Loading, Magazine of Concrete Research, 69(5): 245-254. (DOI)

  12. Wang, H.L., Dai, J.G., Sun, X.Y.* and Zhang, X.L. (2016), Time- and Stress-dependent Chloride Diffusivity of Concrete Subjected to Sustained Compressive Loading, ASCE, Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 28(8)- 04016059. (DOI)

  13. Wang, H.L., Dai, J.G., Sun, X.Y.* and Zhang, X.L. (2016), Characteristics of Concrete Cracks and Their Influence on Chloride Penetration, Construction and Building Materials, 107: 216-225. (DOI)

  14. Duan, A., Tian, Y.*, Dai, J.G. and Jin, W.L. (2014), A Stochastic Damage Model for Evaluating the Internal Deterioration of Concrete Due to Freeze-Thaw Action, Materials and Structures, 47(6), 1025-1039. (DOI)

  15. Duan, A., Dai, J.G.* and Jin, W.L. (2015), Probabilistic Approach for Durability Design of Concrete Structures in Marine Environments, ASCE, Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 27, Special Issue on Sustainable Materials and Structures, A4014007:1-8.  (DOI)

  16. Zhu, Y.G., Kou, S.C., Poon, C.S.*, Dai, J. G. and Li, Q.Y. (2013), Influence of Silane-Based Water Repellent on the Durability Properties of Recycled Aggregate Concrete, Cement and Concrete Composites, 35(1), 32-38. (DOI)

  17. Dai, J. G.*, Akira, Y., Wittmann, Folker H., Yokota, H. and Zhang, P. (2010), Water Repellent Surface Impregnation for Extending the Service Life of Reinforced Concrete Structures in Marine Environments: the Role of Cracks, Cement and Concrete Composites, 32(2), 101-109. (DOI)

  18. Dai, J. G., Kato, E., Iwanami, M. and Yokota, H. (2007), Cracking and Tension Stiffening Behavior of Corroded RC Members, Technical Report of The Port and Airport Research Institute, Japan 46(2), 3-24. (Best Annual Technical Report Award)

  19. Dai, J.G., Kato, E., Iwanami, M. and Yokota, H. (2007), Bonding and Cracking Responses of Corroded RC Members Subjected to Uni-axial Tension, Proceedings of the Japan Concrete Institute, 29(3), 625-630.


Selected Projects:

  • PolyU Areas of Excellence Large Equipment Fund 2019/2020 Round, (C5048-19E), An Intergrated Climate Chamber for Studyying Multi-scale Behavior of FRP-concrete Composite Structures Subjected to Combined Mechanical and Environmental Loading, HK$9,503,840, 

  • PolyU CEE Funding on Asian Cluster Universities Scheme, Use of Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composites for Life Cycle Maintenance of Corroding Concrete Structures, Project code: 1-ZVGE, 11/2015~12/2017, HK$ 500,000, Co-I: Prof JG Teng (PolyU). 

  • Project Funded by China Communications Planning and Design Institute for Water Transportation Co. Ltd., PI, Durability Assessment on the Surface Impregnation System of Concrete Superstructures of Shenzhen Western Government Port, CNY 550,910, 07/2013-04/2014.

  • GDSTC Key Technologies R&D Program 2019/2020 Round, Co-PI, Research on Key Technologies of Innovative ICCP-SS Seawater Sea Sand Reinforced Concrete Building Structure Enabled by Carbon Fiber Composite Material, Allocated with CNY1.5 million out of the total CNY15 million for five years, Project code: 2019B111107002, PI: Prof Zhu J.H. (Shenzhen University).

  • China Ministry of Transportation, Western Transportation Project, Co-PI, Research on Performance Indices for Life Cycle Design of Port Concrete Structures, 07/2011-06/2013, CNY100,000. PI: Prof J.W. Liang (Zhejiang University) 

Dai Group on Sustainable
           Concrete Infrastructure
                         -Emerging Materials and Structural Systems