Regular Article

The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 189, Issue 1, pp 197-203

First online:

Cracks and pores – Their roles in the transmission of water confined in cementitious materials

  • H.N. BordalloAffiliated withHelmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie Email author 
  • , L.P. AldridgeAffiliated withANSTO Email author 
  • , J. WuttkeAffiliated withJülich Centre for Neutron Science
  • , K. FernandoAffiliated withANSTO
  • , W.K. BertramAffiliated withANSTO
  • , L.C. PardoAffiliated withJülich Centre for Neutron ScienceUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya

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Cement paste is formed through a process called hydration by combining water with a cementitious material. Concrete, the worlds most versatile and most widely used material, can then be obtained when aggregates (sand, gravel, crushed stone) are added to the paste. The quality of hardened concrete is greatly influenced by the water confined in the cementitious materials and how it is transmitted through cracks and pores. Here we demonstrate that the water transport in cracks and capillary pores of hardened cement pastes can be approximately modeled by simple equations. Our findings highlight the significance of arresting the development of cracks in cementitious materials used in repository barriers. We also show that neutron scattering is an advantageous technique for understanding how water transmission is effected by gel pore structures. Defining measurable differences in gel pores may hold a key to prediction of the reduction of water transport through cement barriers.