Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Robert J. Frosch

Committee Chair

Robert J. Frosch

Committee Member 1

Jan Olek

Committee Member 2

Christopher S. Williams


Concrete bridge decks in the State of Indiana are undergoing continuous deterioration and loss of service life due to the use of deicing salts during winter weather conditions. As salt water penetrates the deck through cracks and the concrete surface, chlorides, water and oxygen are able to access the reinforcement to initiate corrosion. The corrosion of reinforcing steel over time creates an ongoing need for costly deck repairs and/or deck replacement. This study investigates the performance of crack sealers and deck surface sealers as a potentially cost-effective method of increasing bridge deck service life. An experimental program was developed and initiated in 2011 to study the long-term corrosion performance of a series of macrocell specimens treated with various crack sealers, deck sealers, and other application variables. The scope of this work includes the continual monitoring of the specimens exposed to a salt water ponding regimen for a period of 1600 days, autopsy of the specimens to correlate observed interior corrosion with the measured corrosion activity, and application of a deck sealer to specimens with preexisting corrosion to evaluate the sealer's effectiveness in slowing the rate of corrosion. Deck sealer performance was investigated further by correlating the occurrence of corrosion with sealer penetration depth and chloride penetration profiles. A preliminary field test of sealer applications was also completed to inform the development of field application methods. Based on analysis of the test results, recommendations are provided regarding sealer product selection and field application.