Long Term Corrosion Monitoring in MSE Walls – Joint project with KU

Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) extensively utilizes mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls, typically with coarse aggregate backfill or clean sand in select counties. Kansas State University (KSU) and Kansas University (KU) recently conducted a joint investigation on measuring aggregate backfill corrosion potential with electrical resistivity. Twelve MSE walls were investigated. KSU measured the electrical resistivity through the wall panels and from the surface. KU measured the laboratory electrical resistivity. The electrical resistivity measurements through the panels and in the laboratory were in agreement with each other, supporting the proposed methodology. However, three of the in situ electrical resistivity measurements indicated moderately corrosive backfill and two indicated corrosive backfill. KU similarly observed low electrical resistivity measurements in the laboratory and observed corroded reinforcement in the field in these walls. All of the MSE walls were well below their 75 year design life. The previous study provided compelling evidence regarding the potential for using in situ electrical resistivity method for long term corrosion monitoring. The cause of the increased corrosion potential and if/how the electrical resistivity of the backfill was changing over time was unknown because only one measurement was made at each wall. The objectives of this study are to further characterize the backfill material to understand the cause of the decrease in electrical resistivity and to establish a long term corrosion monitoring procedure. The main deliverable of this research will be a validated methodology for monitoring the in situ corrosion potential of MSE wall backfill after construction.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Final report is pending.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $49374
  • Contract Numbers:

    K-TRAN: KSU-21-3



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Kansas Department of Transportation

    Eisenhower State Office Building
    700 SW Harrison Street
    Topeka, KS  United States  66603-3754
  • Performing Organizations:

    Kansas State University Transportation Center

    Kansas State University
    Department of Civil Engineering
    Manhattan, KS  United States  66506
  • Principal Investigators:

    Kulesza, Stacey

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240331
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01760097
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Kansas Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: K-TRAN: KSU-21-3, RE-0808-01, C2164
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Dec 15 2020 1:14PM