Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Degree Level



Civil Engineering


Ernie Heymsfield

Committee Member

Cameron Murray

Second Committee Member

Gary Prinz


Bridge Inspection, Degradation, Life Cycle Cost Analysis, Weathering Steel


Weathering steel enhances corrosion-resistant steel features over conventional steel when a patina properly forms on the weathering steel surface. Weathering steel is a low carbon steel of less than 0.3% carbon by weight and has a chemical composition including other alloying elements such as nickel, copper, and chromium that develops a patina. The patina is a dense protective oxide film layer that develops on the steel member surface. The patina defends the steel from corrosion by preventing moisture, oxygen, and contaminant penetration. However, long periods of moisture and deicing chemicals applied during wet wintry conditions hinder proper patina formation. Without the proper formation and environment, the corrosion rate of steel will increase. Weathering steel bridges in Arkansas are uncoated without paint or primer and exposed to ambient conditions that may promote steel corrosion. This thesis presents the approach used to relate weathering steel bridge corrosion to bridge conditions and rank bridges based on their oxide film deterioration severity. The study protocol used was to review uncoated weathering steel (UWS) bridges and prioritize bridges based on their need for immediate remediation. The potential for incorporating the use of a small, uncrewed aircraft system (sUAS) for bridge inspections is discussed. The research work in this report serves as a basis for developing guidelines for Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) bridge inspectors to identify and grade oxide film degradation.