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Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Purchase price of epoxy coated rebar is only about 10¢ per pound more than black rebar.  Why is it not used more?

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

purchase price is only part of the equation.  there are additional costs for installation due to the requirements to field repair any defects caused during construction.  this requires additional contractor and inspector time and consequently costs considerably more.  If you don't do the inspection and repairs, then you arguably may lose much of the benefits of the epoxy coated rebar in the first place. See CRSI summary of recommended field handling procedures:

Double coating such as Zbar might be a better option.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

it also has to be longer on splices.  the paint can get stripped off.  i personally don't like green bars.  

i'd rather just have some corrision inhibitor in the concrete and be done with it.   

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Galvanized reinforcing is a much better choice.  Little nicks in the zinc don't affect the corrosion protection.  Instead of epoxy coating, best to concentrate on better concrete.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

It is used a lot in decks of bridges, parking structures and corrosive environments.  It is not needed in buildings or pavements.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

I had a materials professor rail against those things.

He was a pretty smart guy and has done lots of research in that area. If the epoxy coating gets any kind of a ding, not only will it not help, it actually drives the corrosion at a more rapid rate.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

I have to agree with the general sentiment. No matter how careful you are on site and how much you try to touch up every damage to the coating, it is just impossible to install the bars without damaging the eopxy at some point.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

So what is the answer?

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

I agree with the DOTs that epoxy coated rebar is suitable for use in bridge decks.  The iron workers of my experience successfully tied thousands of tons of green steel with no damage in the finish product.  The execution is in the details using coated chairs and wire, close inspection and concrete placement by quality conscious workers.  The life of these decks were extended by double when compared to decks built with black reinforcement in the same construction season, even with cathodic protection and high strength/ high density concrete coupled with the bare steel.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

So why not the whole bridge then?  The incremental cost to use epoxy coated bars in the substructure is way less than 1% of the bridge cost...

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Only about 1/3 of DOT in the US have used epoxy coated reinforcing in the last 10 years.  Several who used it earlier have stopped allowing its use due to concerns about corrosion, particularly in coastal areas.   

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Have their been any actual studies on this, or are they just "concerns"?

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Yes, there have been a lot of studies.  Just google and you will find them.  The ones I have read are from Florida, which resulted in that state ceasing to use epoxy coated steel, and from Virginia, which I think still does.  There is still disagreement as to the benefit or otherwise of using epoxy bars.  Most of the states which use them are across the south and west, while most of the northern tier states do not.

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Many jurisdictions are moving away from epoxy coating due to anodic corrosion issues.


RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Isn't there also an issue of weak bonding between epoxy coated rebar and concrete?

RE: Cost Effectiveness of Epoxy-Coated Rebar

Some state DOT's use green bars in all parts of the structure.  Other DOTs use green bars only in the deck.  As is mentioned above, most DOT's have full time inspectors so that isn't a huge issue to them.  I think a bigger issue is the effectiveness of the application.  

No doubt there is a much improved performance in the use of green bars from when we used black steel only in bridge decks.  But then too our overall construction practice has also improved.  Concrete cover is more strictly held to and has a tremendous effect on protecting rebar.  We're also using sealers and other membranes to protect concrete especially in splash zones where deicing chemicals are inadvertently sprayed onto substructures from the snowplowing etc.

One application that holds a great deal of promise is non-ferrous reinforcing such as Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymers.  GFRP is relatively cheap compared to Carbon FRP and will not rust in any situation.  At present a handful of states have experimental applications and more research work may be necessary to assure owners that it will work but it's a start.


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