Protecting Prestressing Strand in Transportation Structures and Improving Strand-Concrete Bonding

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
December 2011
September 2012
Texas PCI Paper
Research Brief
Final Report

Primary Investigator

Marc A. Anderson
Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
660 N. Park St., Madison, WI 53706


Steel pre-stressing strand is used in nearly all types of transportation structures: highway bridge girders, bridge decks, railway bridge girders, and concrete piling in harbor structures. The strand and pre-stressing is used to prevent concrete cracking under service loads as well as for strength. Corrosion and poor bond are problems that can haunt the designers of pre-stressed transportation structures. Inorganic nano-coatings have the potential of not only improving corrosion resistance but also simultaneously improving the bond between the strand and concrete. The efficiency of those coatings in providing corrosion resistance and bond is evaluated.


We propose to develop and prove that a novel inorganic nano-particle coating for strand will greatly increase corrosion resistance and provide the added benefit of improved strand to concrete bonding. We will identify a suitable method for preparing strand surfaces before applying the corrosion protective nano- coating; identify the best method for applying the inorganic nano-coating and measure the resulting corrosion resistance using rapid electrochemical methods; and evaluate the improvement in strand bond as compared to uncoated strand, created by these protective inorganic nano-coatings.


  1. To find a pretreatment for the uncoated strands aimed at creating a good quality coating strongly adhered to the steel.
  2. Find an optimal dip- coating condition to create good quality coatings and optimal film thickness.
  3. Evaluate the tendency of the steel strands to corrode with the different types of coatings.
  4. Evaluate the performance of these inorganic coatings versus the epoxy coatings.
  5. Evaluate the bond performance of the coatings using methods that are serving as the basis for the new PCI study of strand bond.

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2012
  • Budget: $69,420 (with $2,000 in matching funds)
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and one undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail, Air
  • Project ID: CFIRE 05-12
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