Vertical-Flow Paper Sensor for On-Site and Prompt Evaluation of Chloride Contamination in Concrete Structures

Authors: Noemi Colozza, Sara TazzioliSara Tazzioli, Alessandro Sassolini, Lorenzo Agosta, Maria Giuseppina di Monte, Kersti Hermansson, and Fabiana Arduini

Corrosion occurring in reinforced concrete has turned into a primary concern of the current century, concrete being the most ubiquitous and predominant material used in the construction industry. Among the many interrelated processes that trigger corrosion of metallic reinforcements, the penetration of chloride ions into the concrete matrix is the most insidious threat. Herein, we developed the first electrochemical device entirely made of paper that allows for the direct, prompt, and noninvasive evaluation of free chloride ion contamination in concrete-based constructions. Our device is based on a three-layer wax-modified filter paper, consisting of two Ag/AgCl screen-printed electrodes that are interfaced by a junction pad in a sandwich-like configuration. Filter paper allows for generating a vertical-flow potentiometric device capable of measuring the electrochemical potential between two solutions containing different concentrations of chloride ions, which are separately drop-cast on the top and bottom layers. After demonstrating the analytical performance of the device, the same principle was applied to the evaluation of the chloride contents in different concrete samples, exploiting paper as a suitable interfacing material for potentiometric measurements on the cement solid surface. Laboratory-prepared concrete samples with known chloride contents were first assessed, and then, the paper-based vertical-flow device was applied to real concrete structures at the Giacomo Manzù Museum (Ardea, Italy) for the evaluation of chloride contamination caused by the proximity to the seaside. The capability of our device to provide timely warning of the risk conditions of concrete-based artifacts was demonstrated.

Anal. Chem. 2021, 93, 43, 14369–14374

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