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Proceedings Paper

Embedded chloride detectors for roadways and bridges
Author(s): Peter L. Fuhr; Dryver R. Huston; Adam P. McPadden; Robert F. Cauley
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Paper Abstract

The problems associated with the application of chloride-based deicing agents to roadways and specifically bridges include chemical pollution and accelerated corrosion of strength members (especially rebar) within the structure. In many instances, local ordinances are attempting to force state agencies to reduce, if not eliminate, the use of these chlorides (typically at the cost of increased driving hazards). With respect to the corrosion aspects of chloride application, cracks that occur in the roadway/bridge pavement allow water to seep into the pavement carrying the chloride to the rebar with the resultant increase in corrosion. In response to this problem, particularly in high roadsalt usage areas, a chloride/water impermeable membrane is placed above the rebar matrix so if/when roadway cracking occurs, the roadsalts won't be able to damage the rebar. Such a membrane is costly -- and the question of its in-service performance is questionable. In a joint effort between the University of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Transportation, we are developing fiber optic chloride detectors which are capable of being embedded into the rebar-concrete roadway under this membrane. The sensing mechanism relies on spectroscopic analysis of a chemical reaction of chloride and reagents (which have been coated onto the ends of fibers). Laboratory results of these detectors and a usable system configuration are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 April 1996
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2719, Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Systems for Bridges, Structures, and Highways, (22 April 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.238843
Show Author Affiliations
Peter L. Fuhr, Univ. of Vermont (United States)
Dryver R. Huston, Univ. of Vermont (United States)
Adam P. McPadden, Univ. of Vermont (United States)
Robert F. Cauley, Vermont Agency of Transportation (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2719:
Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Systems for Bridges, Structures, and Highways
Larryl K. Matthews, Editor(s)

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