Skip to main content

How First-Immersion Age Affects Wet Expansion of Dam Concrete: An Experimental Study


Upon immersion in water, dam concrete undergoes wet-expansion deformation due to infiltration of moisture. To investigate how first-immersion age affects the wet expansion of dam concrete, wet-expansion tests with five different first-immersion ages (7, 14, 28, 60, and 90 days) are conducted under unified test conditions. Firstly, the statistical model of measured strain of concrete specimen before immersion in water is established, following which the thermal expansion coefficient and autogenous volume strain of the concrete are obtained. Next, based on the measured strain after immersion in water, we separate the wet-expansion strain of concrete specimens with five different first-immersion ages and then calculate the wet-expansion coefficient of each specimen. Finally, the equivalent age theory is introduced to establish an eight-parameter wet-expansion strain model based on equivalent first-immersion age and equivalent immersion time, and an optimization algorithm is used to identify the parameters of the models. The test results show that as the immersion time increases, the wet-expansion strain gradually increases until it becomes stable. The smaller first-immersion age will result in a larger stable wet-expansion strain, but when the first-immersion age is over 28 days, the stable wet-expansion strain becomes independent of the first-immersion age and tends to a similar value at approximately 20 με. The evolution of wet-expansion coefficient is similar to that of wet-expansion strain, and it tends to 3.6 × 10−3 when the first-immersion age is over 28 days. Additionally, the calculated wet-expansion strain based on the eight-parameter model is in good agreement with the measured value, which indicates the feasibility of this model.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9


  1. 1.

    Neville AM, Dilger WH, Brooks JJ (1983) Creep of plain and structural concrete. Construction Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Neville AM (1995) Properties of the concrete, 4th edn. Longman Scientific & Technical Ltd, London

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Bazant ZP, Jirasek M (2018) Creep and hygrothermal effects in concrete structures. Springer, Amsterdam

    Book  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Rahman M, Chen Y, Ibrahim A, Lindquist W, Tobias D (2020) Study of drying shrinkage mitigating concrete using scaled bridge bays. Int J Civ Eng 18(1A):65–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Carrazedo R, Sanches RAK, de Lacerda LA, Divino PL (2018) Concrete expansion induced by alkali-silica reaction in a small arch dam. Int J Civ Eng 16(3A):289–297.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Bazant ZP, Wittmann FH (1982) Creep and shrinkage in concrete structures. Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Zhu BF (2012) Thermal stress and temperature control of mass concrete. China Electric Power Press, Beijing

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Wei Y, Hansen W (2013) Tensile creep behavior of concrete subject to constant restraint at very early age. J Mater Civ Eng 25:1277–1284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Fan MZ (2006) Impact of wet-expansion deformation on the stress of the heel of baishuiyu dam. Hydropower Autom Dam Monit 30(2):58–60

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Gao Y, Zhang J, Luosun YM (2014) Shrinkage stress in concrete under dry-wet cycles: an example with concrete column. Mech Time Depend Mater 18(1):229–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Zhang J, Gao Y, Han YD, Sun W (2012) Shrinkage and interior humidity of concrete under dry-wet cycles. Dry Technol 30(6):583–596.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Serra C, Batista AL, Monteriro Azevedo N (2016) Dam and wet-screened concrete creep in compression: In situ experimental results and creep strains prediction using model B3 and composite models. Mater Struct 49(11):4831–4851.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    McCarter WJ, Watson DW, Chrisp TM (2001) Surface zone concrete: drying, absorption, and moisture distribution. ASCE J Mater Civ Eng 13(1):49–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Cusson D, Hoogeveen T (2008) Internal curing of high-performance concrete with pre-soaked fine lightweight aggregate for prevention of autogenous shrinkage cracking. Cem Concr Res 38(6):757–765.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Hanzic L, Kosec L, Anzel I (2010) Capillary absorption in concrete and the Lucas–Washburn equation. Cem Concr Compos 32(1):84–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Shen DJ, Wang ML, Chen Y, Wang T, Zhang J (2017) Prediction model for relative humidity of early-age internally cured concrete with pre-wetted light weight aggregates. Constr Build Mater 144(7):717–727.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Wu ZR, Gu CS (2000) The prototype back analysis and application of dam. Jiangsu Science and Technology Press, Nanjing

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Wang ZY, Ling Q, Gou XL (2012) Observation and analysis on humidity deformation in hydraulic thin-walled structures. Hydropower Autom Dam Monit 36(1):60–64

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Xu WB, Li QB, Hu Y, Li S (2017) Wet swelling effect on crack performance of facing concrete for rockfill dams. Mag Concr Res 69(20):1055–1066.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Huang YY, Yuan B, Xiao L, Liu Y (2018) Studies on the wet expansion deformation of hydraulic concrete with fly ash under non-standard temperatures. Case Stud Constr Mater 8:392–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Zhu BF (2011) Compound exponential formula for variation of thermal and mechanical properties with age of concrete. J Hydraul Eng 42(1):1–7

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Freiesleben HP, Pedersen J (1977) Maturity computer for controlled curing and hardening of concrete. Nordisk Betong 1:19–34

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Kang ST, Kim JS, Lee Y, Park YD, Kim JK (2012) Moisture diffusivity of early age concrete considering temperature and porosity. KSCE J Civ Eng 16(1):179–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Persson B (1997) Moisture in concrete subjected to different kinds of curing. Mater Struct 30(9):533–544.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Gu CS, Wu ZR (1996) Research on the expansion stress in wet concrete and application to the allowable stress in arch dams. Dam Eng 7(4):311–316

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Zhu BF (1985) Modulus of elasticity, unit creep and coefficient of stress relaxation of concrete. J Hydraul Eng 15(9):54–61

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Havin VP, Nikol’skij NK (1995) Complex methods In: Havin V.P., Nikol’skij N.K. (eds) Commutative harmonic analysis III. Encyclopaedia of Mathematical Sciences, vol 72. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Download references


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant no. 51779130.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yaoying Huang.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest related to the publication of this paper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Huang, Y., Xiao, L., Zhou, Y. et al. How First-Immersion Age Affects Wet Expansion of Dam Concrete: An Experimental Study. Int J Civ Eng 19, 441–451 (2021).

Download citation


  • Wet-expansion strain
  • First-immersion age
  • Wet-expansion model
  • Wet-expansion coefficient
  • Equivalent age