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John Piazza II

 

         The Emerald Surf Condominium is a low rise, 5 story, 45 unit condominium located on the Gulf of Mexico in Navarre Beach, Florida. It is approximately 15 years old. The framework of the structure consists of reinforced steel concrete columns and beams supporting post tensioned concrete floor slabs. The east and west concrete sheer walls are veneered with decorative wood facing. In 1995, numerous stalactites on the underside of the common walkways were observed during an engineering study investigating the cracking and spalling of the concrete. It was determined that these stalactites were the result of minerals bleeding through cracks and pores in the concrete due to a constant supply of moisture from the environment.

 

The cantilevered concrete slabs, which make up the common walkways and private balconies, are constructed with post tensioned cables that run completely through the slab from the front walkways to the Gulf-side balconies

Gulf Front Condominium Controls Corrosion With Cathodic Protection System

 The Gulf Beach Condominium is typical of the type of construction used in the 1980's for low rise buildings utilizing reinforced steel columns and beams for the framework of the structure. However, the balconies are unusual as they are constructed of prestressed steel concrete slabs which are supported by the reinforced steel framework. The balconies are 4" thick by 48" wide precast concrete planks with a 2" thick concrete topping. Approximately 20 years old, the condominium has not had major problems with creacking and spalling of the concrete; however, corrosion activitiy has been confirmed by the observation of iron oxide stains.

The Gulf Beach Condominium association became very concerned when neighboring condominiums began to experience major concrete deterioration problems resulting in costly concrete restoration projects. Being proactive, the association did not want to wait until

Corrosion is an electrochemical reaction based on universal laws of nature. All metallic structures corrode. It is just a question of how quickly.

Steel, for example, is a man made substance produced from iron oxide. The energy added in the refining process is unstable. Given a suitable environment, steel will release this energy and return to its natural state of iron ore. When immersed in an electrolyte, such as soil, water, or concrete, metals produce a current which causes ions to leave their surface. The rate of current flow determines the life of the structure. One ampere of current consumes approximately 20 pounds of iron per year.

The job of the corrosion engineer is to slow down or halt this process. Included in the techniques available are material selection, coatings, inhibitors and cathodic protection.

The area of metal where current is discharged and corrosion occurs is called anodic relative to the cathodic or noncorroding areas. By connecting a metal of higher

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