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and Building

Construction and Building Materials 21 (2007) 10401045


The inuence of compaction pores on sorptivity and

carbonation of concrete
Tahir Gonen *, Salih Yazicioglu
Department of Construction Education, Firat University, Elazig 23119, Turkey

Received 1 March 2005; received in revised form 15 February 2006; accepted 18 February 2006
Available online 28 August 2006


Concrete itself is a porous composite material consisting of mineral aggregates and the cement matrix that form a durable structure. The
transport of aggressive species may follow dierent mechanisms, depending on the pore structure of the concrete, the exposure conditions
and the characteristics of the diusing substances. According to their origin and characteristics, the pores are classied as compaction pores,
air pores and capillary pores (which aect durability) and gel pores. The present study was carried out to investigate the inuence of
compaction pores on the sorptivity and the carbonation of concrete. To create various levels of compaction porosity (poor, medium and
high) dierent techniques of compaction were used on concrete specimens at casting stage. Compressive strength, porosity, sorptivity coef-
cient, mass change due to carbonation and carbonation were tested in order to estimate the properties of concrete with various compaction
pores. Test results showed that change in the compaction pores may signicantly aect the carbonation rate and the sorptivity coecient.
 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Compaction pore; Carbonation; Sorptivity coecient; Porosity

1. Introduction include the type and amount of cement, porosity of the

material, time of curing, type and quantity of pozzolanic
Durability is a major concern for concrete structures additions [7]. Concrete itself is a porous composite mate-
exposed to aggressive environments. Many environmental rial consisting of mineral aggregates and the cement
phenomena are known to signicantly inuence the dura- matrix that form a durable structure. The porosity of
bility of reinforced concrete structures [14]. Carbonation the concrete allows movement and retention of water
is one of the major factors to cause structure deterioration. and other substances [8]. The transport of aggressive spe-
This process is the reaction of the hydration products dis- cies may follow dierent mechanisms, depending on the
solved in the pore water with the carbon dioxide (CO2) in pore structure of the concrete, the exposure conditions
the air which reduces the pH of concrete pore solution and the characteristic of the diusing substances [9].
from 12.6 to less than 9. As a consequence, the steel passive The pore size distribution particularly inuences the rate
oxide lm may be destroyed and uniform accelerated cor- of transport. The size of pores in the cement paste ranges
rosion may occur [5,6]. over several orders of magnitude. According to their ori-
The basic factor inuencing carbonation is the diusiv- gin and characteristics, the pores are classied as compac-
ity of the hardened cement paste. Carbonation rate is tion pores, air pores and capillary pores (which aect
controlled by the ingress of CO2 into concrete pore sys- durability) and gel pores [10,11].
tem by diusion with a concentration gradient of CO2 This study was performed to investigate porosity,
acting as the driving force. Factors aecting diusion rate sorptivity, accelerated carbonation in accelerated carbon-
ation apparatus and carbonation in normal atmosphere
Corresponding author. Fax: +90 424 236 7064. to ascertain the inuence of compaction pores on the sorp-
E-mail address: tgonen@rat.edu.tr (T. Gonen). tivity and the carbonation of concrete.

0950-0618/$ - see front matter  2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
T. Gonen, S. Yazicioglu / Construction and Building Materials 21 (2007) 10401045 1041

2. Materials and experiment Table 2

Grading, water absorption and density values of aggregate
2.1. Materials used Percentage passing
Sieve size (mm)
The chemical compositions expressed in percentage by 8 4 2 1 0.50 0.25
mass of the constituent oxides, and the mechanical and 100 63 47 30 18 8
some physical properties of the Portland cement are shown Specic gravity (g/cm3) Water absorption (%)
in Table 1. Concerning the aggregate, good quality river
2.75 3.5
gravel and sand commonly used in concrete production
were adopted (max. grain size of aggregate = 8 mm). Grad-
ing, water absorption and density values of aggregate are
shown in Table 2.

2.2. Mix design and specimen geometry

In all mixes, cement at 415 kg/m3, 220 kg/m3 water,

770 kg/m3 48 mm gravel and 810 kg/m3 04 mm sand
were kept constant. Concrete specimens in all experiments
were 100 mm cubes.
To create various levels of compaction porosity (poor,
medium, high), dierent compaction techniques were used
at the casting stage of concrete. These techniques involved
vibration or 25 times by spading for poor of compaction
pores (PCP1 and PCP2, respectively), 15 times by spading Fig. 1. The measurement of sorptivity.
for medium compaction pores (MCP) and non-compacted
for high compaction pores (HCP). 2.4. Sorptivity tests
2.3. Porosity tests The concrete specimens with various compaction pores
were cooled down to room temperature for 6 h after they
The porosity measurements were conducted on slices of had been dried in the oven at about 105 C until constant
68 mm diameter cores that were cut out of the centre of mass. As shown in Fig. 1, test specimens were exposed to
100 mm cubes (parallel to the casting direction). The slices the water on one face by placing it on a pan. The water
were dried at 100 5 C until constant weight achieved on the pan was maintained at about 5 mm above the base
and were then placed for at last 3 h in a desiccators under of the specimens during this experiment. The lower areas
vacuum, which was nally lled with de-aired, distilled on the sides of the specimens were coated with paran to
water. The porosity was calculated using Eq. (1). This achieve unidirectional ow. At certain times (0, 5, 10, 20,
method for measuring the porosity has previously been 30, 60, 180, 360, 1440 min), the mass of the specimens
reported [1214]. was measured using a balance, then the amount of water
absorbed was calculated and normalized with respect to
W sat  W dry
P 100 1 the cross-section area of the specimens.
W sat  W wat The sorptivity coecient [1518] was obtained by using
where P = vacuum saturation porosity (%); Wsat = weight the following expression:
in air of saturated sample; Wwat = weight in water of satu- Q p
k t 2
rated sample; and Wdry = weight of oven-dried sample. A

Table 1
Physical and chemical properties of the OPC 32.5
Chemical analysis (% by mass)
SiO2 Al2O3 Fe2O3 CaO MgO SO3 Ignition loss Insoluble residue Cl
26.86 8.09 5.18 45.88 3.64 2.41 2.95 4.99 0.01
Physical analysis
45 l (%) Blaine Initial Final Specic Density Increase in Compressive strength
(cm2/g) setting setting gravity (g/cm3) volume (%) 2 days 7 days 28 days
(h) (h) (g/cm3)
(N/mm2) (N/mm2) (N/mm2)
1.9 4326 02:35 03:45 2.98 2.92 4 16.9 28.4 39.0
1042 T. Gonen, S. Yazicioglu / Construction and Building Materials 21 (2007) 10401045

where Q = the amount of water absorbed in (cm3); A = the

cross section of specimen that was in contact with water
(cm2); t = time (s); k = the sorptivity coecient of the spec-
imen (cm/s1/2). To determine the sorptivity coecient,
p Q/A
was plotted against the square root of time ( t), then, k
was calculated
p from the slope of the linear relation between
(Q/A) and t.

2.5. Carbonation tests

Both accelerated carbonation and normal carbonation

tests carried out on the specimens with various compaction
pores. As shown in Fig. 2, the accelerated carbonation tests
were carried out in accelerated carbonation apparatus,
whose usability has been evaluated in previous studies
[19,20]. Dierent relative humidity values (35%, 55% and
80%) were considered in accelerated carbonation test. As
for normal carbonation test, only 35% relative humidity Fig. 3. Measuring of the carbonation depth.
was considered in our study.
For each relative humidity group in accelerated carbon-
ation experiments, 24 concrete specimens were cast. After phenolphthalein method recommended by RILEM CPC-
casting, the specimens were kept in mould for 1 day, and 18 on a vertical section of the specimen, after being removed
cured in chamber (95% relative humidity at 20 C) for 28 from the corrosive environment. Each result reported is the
days. These specimens were placed inside the tank and average depth carbonation D measured at two points per-
the lid of the tank was tightly closed. In each experiment, pendicularly to three faces of the broken concrete cube and
eight samples were exposed to 40% of CO2 during periods repeated on three specimens. The depth of penetration of the
of 0.25, 1 and 3 days. Furthermore, to compare the results towelled face was ignored due to the inuence of trowelling.
of the accelerated carbonation tests with normal atmo- The mean value of the depth carbonation D is shown in
sphere, the whole set of experiments was repeated with a Fig. 3. This method for measuring the depth of carbonation
concentration of 0.03% CO2 in laboratory. Specimens hav- was reported elsewhere [2225].
ing four dierent compactions were stored at the labora-
tory during period of 210, 275 and 575 days. The relative 3. Results and discussion
humidity in the laboratory was measured every day and
this value was about 35%. In this study, dierent porosity degrees were obtained by
After testing period, the specimens were taken from the employing variations of the compacting technique. A sim-
chamber and their compression strength was measured ilar method was used by Kumar and Bhattacharjee [26].
according to TS EN 12390-3 (Turkish standard code) [21] Porosities of the specimens were, on average, 9% and
in a hydraulic press on three samples (100 mm cubes). The 12% for PCP1 and PCP2, respectively, 17% for MCP and
carbonation depth of the specimens was determined by the 20% for HCP. Table 3 shows the changes in compressive

Fig. 2. Longitudinal and cross section of the accelerated carbonation test apparatus.
T. Gonen, S. Yazicioglu / Construction and Building Materials 21 (2007) 10401045 1043

Table 3 The results of sorptivity tests are summarized in Table 3.

Compressive strength and porosities of concrete specimens It is indicated that PCP1 gave the lover sorptivity values
Mixture code PCP1 PCP2 MCP HCP followed by PCP2, MCP and then HCP. It can be con-
Porosities (%) 9 12 17 20 cluded that there is a strong relationship between sorptivity
Compressive strength (N/mm2) 47.30 47.53 45.53 31.83 coecient and porosity.
Sorptivity coecient 103 (cm/s0.5) 1.03 1.23 1.31 1.61 Under a specic environment, the carbonation coe-
cient, which is obtained from the slope of a plot of carbon-
strength and porosity of these specimens. PCP1, PCP2 and ation depth against square root of exposure duration,
MCP (porosity levels) in the same compound did not sig- would indicate the rate of carbonation and the perfor-
nicantly aect the compressive strength. The strength val- mance level of a mix. The eect of porosity on the rate of
ues of PCP1 and PCP2 were found to be very close. A accelerated carbonation and carbonation in normal atmo-
decreasing was occurred about 6% in series MCP, which sphere is clearly illustrated in Fig. 4. Since carbonation in
was less compacted than PCP1 and PCP2. The compressive CO2 enriched environment has rapidly developed in com-
strength of HCP was considerably decreased about 34%. A parison to in normal atmosphere, its unit was considered
number of relationship relating strength of concrete with as mm/day0.5. It can be seen from Fig. 4 that the carbon-
porosity are available in the literature. But in this study, ation rate increases with an increase of porosity. Moreover,
Since there is a good relationship between porosity and there is a relationship porosity and carbonation under all
strength of the specimens in the conditions of medium conditions.
and poorly compacted, it appears that the relationship is The rate of carbonation depends also on the moisture
poor between porosity and strength of the highly com- content of the concrete and the relative humidity of the
pacted specimens (compacted by vibration and 25 times ambient media [27]. The eect of relative humidity on the
by spading). Possibility of such a nding has previously depth of carbonation is shown in Fig. 5. The depths of car-
been observed and reported by Kumar and Bhattacharjee bonation were aected signicantly by both the amount of
[26]. Therefore, it may be concluded that this relationship compacted pores and the relative humidity. The rate of car-
may result from statistical distribution. bonation declined with time. In addition, the dierence
among depths of carbonation of the samples was decreased
at 24 h (time of exposure). This decreasing eect may be
caused by saturation of the pores by the diusion of CO2
17 55% RH 40% CO2 80% RH 40% CO2 into the paste. The most velocity carbonation was obtained
Carbonation coefficient *

15 35% RH 40% CO2 35% RH 0.03% CO2 at relative humidity 55%. This nding is in agreement with
13 the study reported by Papadakis et al. [28], Wierig [29] and
De Ceuklaire and Nieuwenburg [30].
De Ceuklaire and Nieuwenburg [30] indicate that there
9 is a solid volume increase of around 11% in the conversion
7 of Ca(OH)2 to CaCO3. In addition, based on the molecular
weights, there would be a 35% increase of weight as well. In
8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 the present study, we also investigated the relationship
Porosity (%) between carbonation depth and change of weight due to
Fig. 4. Porosity versus carbonation coecient for normal atmosphere and carbonation. The specimens were measured using a balance
CO2 enriched environment *carbonation coecient is mm/day0.5 and mm/ before and after carbonation experiments. Regression anal-
year0.5 for environment with 40% CO2 and 0.03% CO2, respectively. yses were also carried out on the experimental data for

20 35% RH 55% RH 80% RH

20 35% RH 55% RH 80% RH
Carbonation depth (mm)

Carbonation depth (mm)

14 14
12 12
10 10
8 8
6 6
4 4
a Accelerated test for 6 hours b Accelerated test for 24 hours

Fig. 5. Carbonation depth of concrete with dierent porosity.

1044 T. Gonen, S. Yazicioglu / Construction and Building Materials 21 (2007) 10401045

21 conditions and application can signicantly inuence

HCP R=0,99
Carbonation depth (mm)

20 the permeability and carbonation of concrete. In this

19 respect, it is important that technical personal should
18 carefully apply the optimal conditions at manufacturing
17 PCP1
MCP R=0,94 stage.
PCP2 R=0,90 PCP2
14 PCP1 R=0,91 MCP
13 HCP
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