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Preventing Crevice Corrosion in New and Existing Steel Structures

From JPCL, January 2018

More items for Quality Control

By Eric Shoyer and Pete Ault, Elzly Technology Corporation; and Peter McDonagh and Brian Prazenka, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority

Bolted joints in steel structures contain multiple crevices between the bolted members and the fasteners that are typically more susceptible to corrosion than flat surfaces, and difficult to properly coat. This article will evaluate the effectiveness of various coating practices at mitigating corrosion around these joints....


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Tagged categories: Bolts; Bridges; Caulking; Corrosion protection; J. Peter Ault; Paint application; Performance testing; Stripe coating; Surface preparation

Comment from Michael Beitzel, (2/12/2018, 9:55 AM)

Couple of questions. Were the galvanized bolts hot dipped or mechanically galvanized? Were the galvanized bolts prepared to SP 10 with all zinc coating removed?


Comment from Pete Ault, (2/14/2018, 8:43 AM)

The bolts were hot dip galvanized and there was definitely zinc remaining after the SP-10 surface preparation. Unfortunately, we did not measure the remaining galvanizing thickness.


Comment from Ivan Lasa., (2/15/2018, 6:36 AM)

Very comprehensive study that provides excellent information for owners and designers. Thanks for sharing.


Comment from Pete Ault, (2/15/2018, 9:35 AM)

Thanks Ivan!


Comment from Wayne Senick, (2/16/2018, 2:14 AM)

Excellent study on how to prevent crevice corrosion and pack rust (which is the cancer that is tearing our structural steel infrastructure apart from the inside out) on new construction. It is very important that the salts and moisture are not allowed to enter the crevice. Covering up the connection by appling 5 coats of coating when they were new has been shown to be a viable solution. For new construction you can cover up the joints as a preventative measure. This is the exact opposite for crevice corrosion on existing structures. If the crevice corrosion and pack rust are covered up by 5 coats of coating it will make the problem worse. Covering up a chemically active crevice corrosion cell accelerates the corrosion development making it grow faster and creating more damage. We are hoping that the next phase of testing will be to tackle the problem of crevice corrosion and pack rust on existing structures that did not have the benefit of 5 coats of coating when they were new. There are thousands of bridges out there suffering from out of plain bending, broken fasteners, frozen pin connections and corrosion frozen bearing caused by crevice corrosion and pack rust. The rule with these structures is “You cannot cover up a chemically active corrosion cell” without first creating a chemically neutral environment in the crevice like we have with new construction. This requires a totally different approach that addresses the corrosion causing chemistries inside the connection before sealing up the connection. Again this would be an excellent next phase for this research.


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