Materials and Structures

, 50:96 | Cite as

Numerical simulation of the freeze–thaw behavior of mortar containing deicing salt solution

  • Hadi S. Esmaeeli
  • Yaghoob Farnam
  • Dale P. Bentz
  • Pablo D. Zavattieri
  • W. Jason Weiss
Original Article


This paper presents a one-dimensional finite difference model that is developed to describe the freeze–thaw behavior of an air-entrained mortar containing deicing salt solution. A phenomenological model is used to predict the temperature and the heat flow for mortar specimens during cooling and heating. Phase transformations associated with the freezing/melting of water/ice or transition of the eutectic solution from liquid to solid are included in this phenomenological model. The lever rule is used to calculate the quantity of solution that undergoes the phase transformation, thereby simulating the energy released/absorbed during phase transformation. Undercooling and pore size effects are considered in the numerical model. To investigate the effect of pore size distribution, this distribution is considered using the Gibbs–Thomson equation in a saturated mortar specimen. For an air-entrained mortar, the impact of considering pore size (and curvature) on freezing was relatively insignificant; however the impact of pore size is much more significant during melting. The fluid inside pores smaller than 5 nm (i.e., gel pores) has a relatively small contribution in the macroscopic freeze–thaw behavior of mortar specimens within the temperature range used in this study (i.e., +24 to −35  °C), and can therefore be neglected for the macroscopic freeze–thaw simulations. A heat sink term is utilized to simulate the heat dissipation during phase transformations. Data from experiments performed using a low-temperature longitudinal guarded comparative calorimeter on mortar specimens fully saturated with various concentration NaCl solutions or partially saturated with water is compared to the numerical results and a promising agreement is generally obtained.


Degree of saturation Deicing salt Finite difference method Freeze and thaw Cementitious Pore size distribution Undercooling 


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hadi S. Esmaeeli
    • 1
  • Yaghoob Farnam
    • 1
  • Dale P. Bentz
    • 2
  • Pablo D. Zavattieri
    • 1
  • W. Jason Weiss
    • 3
  1. 1.Lyles School of Civil EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Materials and Structural Systems DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  3. 3.School of Civil & Construction EngineeringOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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