Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Amir Poursaee

Committee Member

Prasad Rao Rangaraju

Committee Member

Ronald D Andrus

Committee Member

Brandon Ross


This dissertation aimed to study the corrosion performance of carbon steel in different soils, collected from the state of Wisconsin. Carbon steel specimens (as-received) as well as steel embedded in mortar (steel-mortar) specimens, to simulate the realistic H-pile design in bridges, were used in this investigation. Both as-received steel and steel-mortar specimens were embedded in as-received soils, with different physiochemical properties, i.e. pH, moisture content, resistivity, chloride content, sulfate and sulfite contents, and the mean total organic carbon concentration, for more than one year. Both specimen types were also embedded in the same as-received soils, but with increased chloride content to 3% by weight of chloride ions for more than one year. In addition, the surface of three identical as-received specimens was modified using the sandblasting method for 5 minutes. These specimens were embedded in one of the collected soils. Different electrochemical measurements were conducted on the specimens to evaluate the corrosion activity of the steel in these soils.

The results showed a comparable corrosion activity of the steel-mortar specimens in all soils compared to the as-received specimens in the same soil both with and without chlorides, except for soils collected from Wausau. No correlation between the available physiochemical data and the observed results was determined. No information on the type and population of the bacteria in the collected soils was available. Perhaps, this information could explain the observed results. In all cases, there was a galvanic current flowing between specimens in chloride-free and chloride contaminated soils. In addition, corrosion potential values of all specimens remained relatively stable both before and after addition of chlorides, suggesting just measuring the corrosion potential may not be an efficient method to monitor the change of corrosion behavior of steel in the soil. The results of electrochemical experiments also showed significant improvement in corrosion resistance of sandblasted specimens compared to the as-received specimens.



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