Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory (CSIL)

Corrosion is a natural process that poses a high risk for our transportation infrastructure – especially the premature failure of bridges. A recent congressional study estimates that the cost of metallic corrosion to the U.S. economy is a staggering $276 billion per year.

In the WTI Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory, researchers study the effects of materials corrosion in order to extend the life of our key transportation systems. Much of the research focuses on improved materials integrity, environmentally responsible maintenance, and use of advanced technologies. For example, in a project for the California Department of Transportation (, the CSIL team will develop a modified Rapid Chloride Permeability Test (RCPT) to assess the durability of mineral admixture concretes. Caltrans design engineers can use this information to improve bridge design specifications and reduce chloride-induced corrosion and deterioration.

Our researchers bring to the lab a problem-driven, multi-disciplinary team approach to research and a range of interdisciplinary skills. Our CSIL team’s expertise includes civil engineering, corrosion science, electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, materials science and engineering, environmental science, toxicology and numerical modeling.

Laboratory facilities include:

A wet-bench chemistry lab equipped with:

  • Ventilation hoods
  • Vacuum Pumps
  • Distilled Water Filtration System
  • Micro-grinding mill and sonicator
  • Metal and concrete saws and polishing equipment
  • Range of shop equipment and tools

An instrumentation room equipped with:

  • Potentiostats featuring capabilities for DC voltammetry, AC impedance, and electrochemical noise analysis
  • A corrosion testing machine featuring capabilities for NACE/PNSA gravimetric tests
  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter
  • Bending Beam Rheometer
  • Microscopic Camera
  • Analytical Balances
  • Modeling software applications (COMSOL Multi-physics)
  • An environmental chamber with precise temperature control and custom-made system for testing of accelerated deicer ingress

Researchers also have access to other advanced research facilities at or near the Montana State University campus, including the Imaging and Chemical Analysis Laboratory, the Sub-zero Science and Engineering Laboratory, the Transcend Cold Regions Test-bed, the Center for Biofilm Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering labs, Civil Engineering labs, and composites manufacturing and testing machines.

Current areas of research include:

  • Mechanisms responsible for rebar corrosion and its inhibition
  • Electrochemical protection or rehabilitation techniques for reinforced concrete
  • Accelerated testing of chloride permeability and deicer ingress in concrete
  • Computational modeling techniques
  • High performance coatings
  • Corrosion inhibiting admixtures for new concrete
  • High performance concrete
  • Deicer impact on concrete
  • Deicer impact on asphalt
  • Microbial fuel cells

Project Examples:

An Innovative Coating System for the Corrosion Prevention of Galvanized Steel
Electrochemical Rehabilitation of Salt-Contaminated Concrete: A Laboratory Evaluation
Replacing Thermal Sprayed Zinc Anodes on Cathodically Protected Steel Reinforced Concrete Bridges
Impact of Airport Pavement Deicing Products on Aircraft and Airfield Infrastructure
Corrosion Inhibition Mechanisms at the Steel/Concrete Interface
Effect of Chloride-Based Deicers on Reinforced Concrete Structures: Phase I
Validating the Durability of Corrosion Resistant Mineral Admixture Concrete
Validation of Rehabilitation Strategies to Extend the Service Life of Concrete Bridge Decks
Evaluation of Alternate Anti-icing and Deicing Compounds Using Sodium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride as Baseline Deicers
An Autonomous and Self-Sustained Sensing System to Monitor Water Quality Near Highways


U.S. DOT Research & Innovative Technology Administration (
State Departments of Transportation:
Pacific Northwest Snowfighters Association (
Civil Engineering Department, MSU (
Imaging & Chemical Analysis Laboratory, MSU (
Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) (
Transportation Research Board, National Academies (
Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China (
School of Materials Science & Engineering. Tianjin University, China (
School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, China (
Southwest Research Institute (


Laura Fay