You are on page 1of 2


Sebastián Álvarez Quevedo 1102401

Tecnología del concreto
Universidad Militar Nueva Granada

New evidences on the effect of the internal relative humidity on the creep and relaxation
behaviour of a cement paste by micro-indentation techniques
1. Introduction.
The micro-difussion of wáter molecules betwenn hindered absorbed layers and capillary
pores, slip mechanisms along Calcium-Silicate-Hydrates, micropresstress in the
micropores of cementitious materials and others have shown that the behaviour of
bridges older than 20 years have creep deflections that exceed by far the predictions of
national codes.
2. Methods and materials
2.1. Microindentation techniques
An indentation tests consists of penetrating the flat Surface of a material with a rigid
diamond indenter by applying an external load P and simultaneously measuring the
penetration depth. (Fig 1)

2.2. Microindentation creep and relaxation parameters.

2.2.1. Creep and relaxation coefficients
This coefficients provide a measurement of creep extent without information on
their kinetics:
The creep cpefficient C is the ratio between the increase of the penetration (hmax-
hini) under constant load an the elastic deformation at the end of the loading phase
The relaxation coefficient R is the ratio between the forcé reduction (Pmax-Pini) under
a constant penetration depth hmax and the force Pmax at the end of the loading
2.2.2. Creep and relaxation rates.
SiLT is defined as the long term time derivate of creep curve on relaxation curve.
2.2.3. Contact Creep Modulus and Relaxation Compliance
The contact compliance L is defined as the inverse of the indentation modulus M
and its time derivate is:
𝐿(𝑡) = 𝑃 𝑢 ℎ(𝑡)

Where f(t) is the time derivate, au(t) is the diameter of the contact área, h(t) is the
rate of penetration depth.
Contact creep modulus Ci which describes the long term rate of a creep
indentantion test as follows:

𝐶𝑖 ≝ lim
𝑡→∞ 𝐿(𝑡)𝑡

Long term contact relaxation compliance is defined:

𝑅𝑖 ≝ − lim 𝑀(𝑡)𝑡

2.3. Material preparation

Portland cement type I was used. w/c = 0.6. They were used cylindrical moulds of about
100mm in diameter and 200mm in height. The samples were kept under rotation about
16h. The mould was removed at 24h. The molds were cured in a chamber at 100% RH
for 1 month and 2months at 50% RH. The fc was about 20.3MPa. Young
modulus=9.8GPa. Poisson ratio=0.25. After 3 months, cubic samples of 30mm were
The cubic samples were polished. The roughness was verified by Atomic Force
Microscopy. The samples were cured for 1 day at the chosen RH before
microindentation testing. For verification,a second series was tested with a 7 days of
RH curing.
2.4. Microindentation chamber with humidity control
It was an hermetic chamber where the relative humidity RH and the carbón dioxide
concentration CO2 were controlled by different methods.
2.5. Microindentation test settings

3. Experimental results
The indentation modulus M and hardness H reduce of 6% and 27% by varying the equilibrium
RH form 18% to 85%, respectively. The strength increase at lower humidity level may be
explained by a strengthbening effect of the capillary forces in the desaturating pores. The
greater the RH is, the greater the viscous effect is.
The results observed in the 7 days control series were consistent with the obtained in the 1
day RH cure. The results confirm that Ci decreases with the increase of RH. Increasing the
holding time reduces the long time slopes. The Ci doesn’t show a clear dependence on the
máximum load Pmax.
4. Conclussions
 The dependence of modulus M and hardness H on RH is meaningful.
 Relaxation and creep curves in function of time are logarithmic.
 The effect of RH on Ci anf the Ri is statistically significant and consistent.
 The Ci correlates with H at different relative humidities.
 The Ci and Ri are strongly correlated for different RH.