While on site measurement of air permeability provides a useful approach for assessing the likely long term durability of concrete structures, no existing test method is capable of effectively determining the relative permeability of high performance concrete (HPC). Lack of instrument sensitivity and the influence of concrete moisture are proposed as two key reasons for this phenomenon. With limited systematic research carried out in this area to date, the aim if this study was to investigate the influence of instrument sensitivity and moisture condition on air permeability measurements for both normal concrete and HPC. To achieve a range of moisture conditions, samples were dried initially for between one and 5 weeks and then sealed in polythene sheeting and stored in an oven at 50 C to internally distribute moisture evenly. Moisture distribution was determined throughout using relative humidity probe and electrical resistance measurements. Concrete air permeability was subsequently measured using standardised air permeability (Autoclam) and water penetration (BS EN: 12390-8) tests to assess differences between the HPCs tested in this study. It was found that for both normal and high performance concrete, the influence of moisture on Autoclam air permeability results could be eliminated by pre-drying (50 ± 1 C, RH 35%) specimens for 3 weeks. While drying for 5 weeks alone was found not to result in uniform internal moisture distributions, this state was achieved by exposing specimens to a further 3 weeks of sealed pre-conditioning at 50 ± 1 C. While the Autoclam test was not able to accurately identify relative HPC quality due to low sensitivity at associated performance levels, an effective preconditioning procedure to obtain reliable air permeability of HPC concretes was identified.
Yang, K., Basheer, P. A. M., Magee, B., & Bai, Y. (2013). Investigation of moisture condition and Autoclam sensitivity on air permeability measurements for both normal concrete and high performance concrete. Construction and Building Materials, 48, 306-314. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2013.06.087