Concrete Repair, Rehabilitation and Retroftting III – Alexander et al. (eds)
© 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 9780415899529
Modeling of moisture distribution in concrete in 3D
J. Skramlik, M. Novotny & K. Suhajda
Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic
ABSTRACT: Into porous material of concrete structures can penetrate moisture in liquid or gaseous
form. Humidity affects the physical properties of building material. To express the negative effects of
moisture on building materials or building structures more accurately, it is needed to use the most accu
rate method of detecting moisture diffusion. Capillary conductivity is influenced in dependence not only
at external fluids and change of heat, but also by the processes inside the porous structure. These influ
ences should be explored in text of European standard EN ISO 15026 is informative link that presents
the description of the distribution of moisture in porous material based on measurements using NMR
(Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), which is essentially a curve of wetting of material in time intervals. The
aim of this paper is to present information about detection of distribution of moisture in concrete by
means of EMWR (electromagnetic microwave radiation) and to record moisture curve in 3D for calcula
tion of capillary conductivity coefficient and his dependence on moisture by weight.
Model presents a complex of physical phenom
ena and the process which is affected by external
influences. Each stage has lower levels, which are
carried out separately as individual process.
q
dθ
= density of diffuse flow of controlled by
temperature; q
dφ
= density of diffuse flow of con
trolled by moisture; q
κu
= density of liquid flow due
to capillary of water; q = is the heat flow density;
u = moisture; t = middle temperature.
Enthalpy is the heat due to heat sources such as
sunlight. Latent heat is released in the conversion
of waterdrying, evaporation and condensation.
1 INTRODUCTION
Excessive moisture in building materials affects the
physical characteristics of building structures and
causes its degradation. To evaluate the negative
effects of humidity on the material it is necessary
to determine moisture characteristics. Building
construction which is made of concrete should be
designed with respect to a number of factors that
somehow impede its function. Such factors include
water vapor—as a liquid moisture phase.
Diffusion of water vapor is sufficiently explored
but for the transport of moisture in porous struc
ture there however is necessary to know informa
tion about the condensation of water vapor. If
water in porous material condensed, liquid mois
ture emerges in part of construction. This phenom
enon is called capillary conductivity of moisture.
2 THE MOISTURE IN POROUS MEDIUM
2.1 Moisture and capillary medium
Water gets in porous material from the environ
ment and the equilibrium between the material
moisture and the ambient air moisture is reached
under steady temperature and moisture conditions.
If the partial pressure of water vapor in a building
material is lower than that in the ambient air, then
the material absorbs water vapor from the air.
Figure 1 shows model of impact of external
influences on the porous material. By influence of
condensation and by change of temperature gradi
ent is accelerated the diffusion of moisture.
ϕ , d
q
θ , d
q
Vapor ϕ , d
q
θ , d
q
Equilibrium
u
q
, κ
Water u
q
, κ
Latent heat
q
Enthalpy
q
Source of heat
Source of moisture
u
θ
u
θ
Convection
inwards
Accumulation
Convection
outside
2
1
3
1
2
3
Figure 1. Model of external influences on porous mate
rials [1] 1—diffusion, 2—liquid water, 3—heat.
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329
In an area where the porous material is in con
tact with the water surface is cause of moisture
transport for example capillary pressure. For the
moisture behavior of porous building materials is
still lacking a clear description.
2.2 Moisture distribution in capillary medium
Due to the heterogeneity of porous structure which
determines the movement of individual phases of
the moisture, cannot be accurately analytically
described diffusion of moisture (Fig. 2).
Porous materials consist of cavities in various
forms.
2.3 The moisture diffusion inside materials
Sorption and desorption isotherm expresses
the value of the absorption and release of mois
ture from the air when air reaches equilibrium
moisture.
Progressive increase in material moisture from
60% relative humidity is attributed to capillary
condensation (Fig. 3). Therefore the capillaries
are filled up to 90% relative humidity with water
and at the same time there appears condensation
(Kießl. K).
Fig. 4 present increase of condensation on the
walls of porous medium.
2.4 Moisture accumulation in a construction
Many technical studies show that the moisture
monitoring is prevailingly based on experiments.
Previous calculating methods e.g. by Glaser (to
the condensation occurs between the points A and
B as seen on the graph (Figure 5), which became
the basis for the standard calculations in many
European countries in the 1960’s are not always
sufficient with respect to the demands for the civil
structures.
In reality dampness does not remain in delimited
zone. Condensation extends in porous material in
all directions and is affected by moisture gradient.
Moisture spreads in porous texture  for exam
ple within the range of A
1
–B
1
to A
3
–B
3
(Figure 6).
This fact subsequently effects the physical char
acteristics of concrete and also changes heat con
ductivity λ.
2.5 The moisture transport coefficient
In case of high water content the liquid transport
has a particular influence on moisture transport
behavior of porous materials.
Figure 2. Capillary profile a) water b) vapor c) adhesive
water.
Figure3 . Dependence of dampness on diffusion coef
ficient [2].
Figure 4. Multilayer of condensation on the walls of
capillaries.
Figure 5. Determination of the condensation zone
in a construction by means of a numerical calculation
(Glaser) [4].
Figure 6. Distribution of condensate out of condensa
tion zone.
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The material property to describe this process is
the liquid conductivity. The determination of the
vapor coefficient according to European standard
15026 is described in EN ISO 12572:
K
p
x
D
w
p
p
x
D
suc
w
DD
suc
suc
w
DD ( ) p
suc
∂pp
∂
= − ( ) w
∂
∂pp
∂pp
∂
= − ( ) w
∂ww
x ∂
(1)
where K is liquid conductivity [s.m
1
], D
w
is diffu
sion of moisture as transfer coefficient [m
2
.s
1
], p
suc
is suction [Pa], w is moisture by weight [kg.m
3
].
Capillary pressure is primarily if its minimum
value is (Kiessl):
p
r
k
=
( )
=
2
2
.
. .
σ θ
( )
t .
( )
t cos
σ θ . cos ρ
(2)
p
k
= capillary pressure; ρ = r
−1
= curvature; θ = mois
ture; σ = surface tension of water; r = pore radius;
t = temperature (constant).
2. . σ θ . cos t k θ . cos onst ( σ )
(3)
ρ =
−
r
1
(4)
The smaller the pore radius = the greater the
capillary pressure, which causes the suction of
water from the large pores.
Informative mention in conclusion of this Euro
pean Standard presents the moisture distributions
as the wetting curves in length of sample in time
and calculates K is based on the difference of par
tial pressures. This standard recommends using to
determine the nuclear resonance.
Characteristic parameter for describe the mois
ture in the porous material is the wetting curve
(Figure 7) the distribution of moisture in time
classic set by the gravimetric method for calculat
ing coefficient of capillary conductivity.
2.6 Capillary conductivity coefficient
The basic theoretical concept for the description of
moisture transport in porous material in this case
is based on a combination of continuity equation
with Lykov’s equation, which expresses capillary
conductivity and moisture gradient.
From distribution of moisture in a given time
interval (t is constant and x is a function of one
variable) can be expressed the capillary conductiv
ity coefficient (Kutilek):
ξ ξ
( )
(ξξ
tu
u ξξ (ξξ
x
′
⋅ ξ ′
∞
∫
∞∞
1
2
(5)
where t = time interval [s], ζ = substitution of the
distance [], ω = new variable [], η = Boltzmann
transformation [m.s
1/2
], x = length of a sample [m],
u
1
= maximal value of moisture [], u
2
= moisture by
relative humidity [].
3 DETECTION OF MOISTURE
DISTRIBUTION BY HELP OF EMW
RADIATION
To detect moisture transport in concrete there was
used apparatus developed at the Brno University
of Technology (Figure 8).
3.1 The procedure to obtain of curves
At the Fig. 9 is a graph of functional depend
ency changes of the intensity of electromagnetic
microwave radiation on the amount of moisture in
concrete.
a. Dependence between EMW radiation and con
tent of moisture in material from regression for
mula, (Fig. 3, 4 and 9),
u
m
= −1,342033167.10–7 ⋅ z
3
+ 0,0001936510773
⋅ z
2
− 0,1038753765 ⋅ z + 20,78641097
b. Dependence between change of EMWR and
moisture into distance from source of dampness,
c. Moisture distribution (Fig. 11):
u
m,t
= f (z
t
(x)) (6)
u
m
= specific moisture, z = EMWR intensity
which come through Specimen, x = position data
of moisture, t = time interval of measurement.
3.2 Grafical presentation of measured values
in 3D
At the Fig. 10 is the results of continuous measure
ments on one sample of material from where it is
possible use sectional view at any time interval to
calculate the coefficient of capillary conductivity
Figure 7. Moisture profiles u(x) at the time intervals t
x

moisturizing of the measured sample showing the initial
and boundary conditions for the determination of the
capillary conductivity coefficient [1].
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3.3 Wetting curves
At the Fig. 11 is a graphical representation of the
changes in moisture by weight obtained by transfer
of electromagnetic microwave radiation intensity
on the content of moisture (see Fig. 7) in time of a
shift of waveguide within the length of sample.
The values determined by help experimentally
assembled apparatus allows calculating the coef
ficient of capillary conductivity. In addition, there
are several other ways we can to use these data, for
example to express the capillary conductivity coef
ficient depending on the moisture by weight (see
Capt. 2.6).
4 CONCLUSIONS
By measurements on the experimental appara
tus were attained of curves, comparable with the
method presented in the Standard ISO 12572 and
it is not differences in the method by using of par
tial pressures. It has been shown that microwave
radiation is sufficient for the detection of moisture.
Measurement results can be applied to calculate
the coefficient of capillary conductivity. Compared
with the gravimetric method are curves for calcu
lation of capillary conductivity coefficient using
Mattan method more accurate as well as for an
integral method, which requires more curves on the
same material. By using of mathematical method is
possible to continue processing the results of meas
urement for expressing of capillary conductivity
coefficient depending on the moisture by weight
for expression the thermal insulation properties of
materials depending on the moisture.
In addition for monitoring of moisture in
porous material adequate and also sufficient for
this purpose instead NMR is EMWR.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This article was supported by GACR P104/10/P388
“Experimental analysis of the effect of microwave
radiation for destruction of biological agents” and
by GACR P104/10/1390 “The analysis of influ
ence of MW drying while application of chemical
grouting into moist brickwork”.
REFERENCES
1. Kiessl, K. Kapillarer und dampfförmiger
Feuchtetransport in Bauteilen. Essen 1983.
2. European Standard EN ISO 15026 Assessment of
moisture transfer by numerical simulation, 2007.
3. Gertis, K. & Kiessl, K. Feuchte Transport in Baustof
fen, 1980.
4. Kutilek, M. Dampness porous material, CZ, Prague
SNTL, 1992.
5. Krischer, K. Die Wisenschaftliche Grundlagen der
Trocknugstechnik, Springer Verlag 1978.
6. Skramlik, J. & Novotný, M. Moisture transfer in
building material, PROHITECH 09, Italy, Taylor and
Francis Group, UK, ISBN 9780415558037, 2009.
R
2
=0,98
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
0
changeof intensity of EMWR [mV]
m
o
s
i
s
t
u
r
e
b
y
w
e
i
g
h
t
[
%
]
500 400 300 200 100
Figure 9. Functional dependence of microwave radia
tion on humidity by weight.
Figure 10. Threedimensional distributions of moisture
in the reference sample material.
Figure 11. The moisture distribution in nonstationary
state of wetting of sample.
Figure 8. Apparatus for monitoring the moisture trans
port in 3D view.
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