Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Brian O'Rourke

Second Advisor

Kieran Ruane

Third Advisor

John J. Murphy


The current study investigates the deterioration of a 100 year old bridge located in a harsh marine environment. Constructed in 1908 - 1909 the Mizen Head Footbridge was one of the oldest reinforced concrete bridges in Ireland. The demolition of the bridge in 2009 provided a unique opportunity to examine its service life and to extract samples for analysis and investigation. A review of the construction of the bridge, and its maintenance history are presented, with a view to analysing their influence on the behaviour of the concrete.

Reinforcement corrosion due to chloride attack was identified. A focused study indicates that chloride contaminated constituents may have been used in the concrete mix.

The study also includes details of anaerobic corrosion of reinforcement observed in the Mizen Head Footbridge. A review of anaerobic corrosion of reinforcement in concrete is presented, outlining black rust formation, characteristics and detection methods.

This research may provide valuable advice and guidance for the asset management of similar structures.

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