Methods of Test for Concrete Permeability: A Critical Review

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Milla, Jose
Cavalline, Tara L.
Rupnow, Tyson D.
Melugiri-Shankaramurthy, Bharath
Lomboy, Gilson
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ASTM International
Wang, Kejin
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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The transport of liquids, gasses, and aggressive agents into concrete is responsible for a variety of durability issues. To obtain the low-permeability concrete required for long-lasting, sustainable infrastructure, stakeholders desire the ability to specify concrete based upon the permeability rating for specific uses. The mechanisms of moisture ingress into concrete are complex phenomena, and they are highly dependent on materials, mixture characteristics, curing conditions, and other factors. This review article provides an overview of the available permeability test methods and identifies existing gaps in the current field and knowledge. It discusses the mechanisms and key factors influencing moisture movement within concrete (capillary suction, absorption, water, and gas permeability) and outlines the procedures, advantages, and limitations of available permeability test methods. Despite a variety of tests available for water permeability, widespread acceptance for use of a single (or even a few) tests has not been achieved. No clear link exists between these tests and acceptable field performance. Additionally, several tests are viewed as problematic from a time, cost, or variability standpoint. Therefore, improved rapid permeability tests are needed to provide a pathway for agencies to move toward performance specifications with confidence. Recommendations regarding future work to support the development of improved test methods and, potentially, a model that would predict moisture ingress based on electrical resistivity, are also presented.
This article is published as Milla, Jose, Tara L. Cavalline, Tyson D. Rupnow, Bharath Melugiri-Shankaramurthy, Gilson Lomboy, and Kejin Wang. "Methods of Test for Concrete Permeability: A Critical Review." Advances in Civil Engineering Materials 10, no. 1 (2021): 172-209. DOI: 10.1520/ACEM20200067. Copyright 2021 ASTM Int'l. Posted with permission.