Durability and water absorption properties of surface treated concretes

Lulu Basheer, David James Cleland

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Durability of concrete can be improved by applying surface treatments. Pore-lining treatments prevent or delay the ingress of water-borne salts while allowing vapour transfer across the concrete surface. The most common pore-liners are silanes and siloxanes; both reported to give good results. One area of concern, however, is variability in effectiveness of the treatment. This variability may be due to inconsistent coverage or extreme drying conditions. With care these can be controlled but another source of variability which is difficult to control is the moisture profile within the concrete at the time of application of the treatment. This paper describes a test programme to assess the sensitivity of three different surface treatments to moisture gradient in the concrete at the time of application of treatment. The test programme included durability parameters such as chloride ingress, corrosion due to chloride ingress, freeze-thaw salt scaling resistance. Water absorption (sorptivity) of treated and untreated concretes was also measured with a non-distructive test technique called Autoclam with the aim of determining if the Autoclam sorptivity test can be used to assess the effectiveness of surface treatments. Using these results it is possible to avoid, or allow for, moisture conditions which would adversely affect the success of a pore-liner. However there are advantages in specifying an expected performance of the surface treatment rather than specifying the conditions in which it must be placed. By this method a treatment would have to achieve a specified value of sorptivity or a specified reduction in sorptivity. Failure to do so would be an objective basis on which to make a decision of whether or not to reject the treatment. The Autoclam is a device capable of measuring sorptivity values down to the range typical of surface treated concrete. The paper assesses if the device can be used to discriminate between acceptable treatment and unsatisfactory treatments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)957-967
    Number of pages11
    JournalMaterials and Structures
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Building and Construction
    • Materials Science(all)

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