Reference: D.P. Bentz and E.J. Garboczi, Materials and Structures 25, 523-533 (1992).Go back to Part I Chapter 9 Sec. (1a) Go back to Table of Contents
Dale P. Bentz and Edward J. Garboczi
Building Materials Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
As concrete is exposed to the elements, its underlying microstructure can be attacked by a variety of aggressive agents. For example, rainwater and groundwater can degrade the concrete by dissolving soluble constituents such as calcium hydroxide. Using computer simulation, this paper examines the effects of calcium hydroxide dissolution on two material properties: the percolation properties or connectivity of the capillary pore space, and the relative ionic diffusivity. A microstructural model for cement paste is used to produce a hydrated specimen which is subsequently subjected to the leaching process. Pore space percolation characteristics and relative ionic diffusivity are computed throughout the leaching process as a function of total capillary porosity. Material variables examined are water:solids ratio and silica fume content. Percolation theory is used to develop the concept of a critical volume fraction of calcium hydroxide plus capillary pore space. It is shown that this critical combined volume fraction determines the magnitude of the effect of leaching on relative ionic diffusivity.