Assessing the Influence of ITZ on the Steady-state Chloride Diffusivity of Concrete Using a Numerical Model

In this study, the influence of the aggregate-cement paste interfacial transition zone (ITZ) on the steady-state chloride diffusivity of mortars and concretes was examined using a semi-empirical, 3-phase composite sphere model. Mortars and concretes were modeled as 3-phase composites consisting of the aggregate, bulk cement paste, and an inhomogeneous ITZ. The latter was divided into a series of homogenous concentric shell elements of equal thickness. The initial porosity and cement gradients at the ITZ were first estimated from the overall water/cement ratio (w-sub-0/c). The evolution of the porosity, solid hydration products, and remnants of unreacted cement were then calculated from the hydration degree and local water/cement ratio (w/c) using Powers' empirical model. Based on the Laplacian equation, an element transfer matrix was derived analytically to predict the steady-state chloride diffusivity. The model was calibrated using the available experimental data and then applied to perform a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the effects of aggregate content, water/cement ratio, curing period, ITZ width, maximum aggregate size, and aggregate gradation on diffusivity. Some of these variables are impractical to quantify by laboratory experimentation. Implications of the findings with regard to the role of ITZ on mass transport properties are discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01142452
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 23 2009 1:48PM