The development of techniques capable of evaluating deterioration of reinforced concrete (RC) structures is instrumental to the advancement of techniques for the structural health monitoring (SHM) and service life estimate for constructed facilities. One of the main causes leading to degradation of RC is the corrosion of the steel reinforcement. This process can be modeled phenomenologically, while laboratory tests aimed at studying durability responses are typically accelerated in order to provide useful results within a realistic period of time. To assess the condition of damage in RC, a number of nondestructive methods have been recently studied. Acoustic emission (AE) is emerging as a nondestructive tool to detect the onset and progression of deterioration mechanisms. In this paper, the development of accelerated corrosion and continuous AE monitoring test set-up for RC specimens are presented. Relevant information are provided with regard to the characteristics of the corrosion circuit, continuous measurement and acquisition of corrosion potential, selection of AE sensors and AE parameter setting. The effectiveness of the setup in detecting and characterizing the initiation and progression of the corrosion phenomenon is discussed on the basis of preliminary results from small-scale, pre-cracked RC specimens, which are representative of areas near the clear cover in typical RC bridge members.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.