The growing interest in upgrading existing reinforced concrete structures or extending their service life, and in ensuring greater durability in new designs, has led to a need for resistance models that take deterioration processes into account to verify structural safety. Bond activation between reinforcing steel and concrete is of cardinal importance in this context. A number of experimental studies have been conducted in recent years on bond failure, which normally leads to brittle behaviour. The findings have diverged rather widely, however, due primarily to differing test conditions. The present paper presents an experimental programme for eccentric pull-out tests in which specimens were subjected to both accelerated and natural corrosion in an attempt to surmount these inconsistencies. It also introduces an embedded fibre-optic sensing system with corrosion-resistant fibre Bragg grating sensors and discusses some of the findings.