Numerical simulations of electrically induced chloride ion transport and moisture permeability through cracked concrete
The main objective of this study is to numerically investigate: (i) the ionic transport, especially chloride ion penetration into cementitious materials under imposed electric fields, and (ii) moisture transport through cracked concretes as a function of the crack geometry. Numerical methods were implemented to simulate the ionic transport process, based on coupling the Nernst-Planck equation and Poisson's equation to account for transport dominated by electromigration. This mathematical model was also modified to account for the chloride binding mechanism (physical and chemical trapping of chlorides by the cement hydrates) and the concentration dependence of the diffusion coefficient of each ion in the transport process. To validate the numerical model, experimental data from a companion work was used in this study. The non-steady state migration test, which is one of the common accelerated chloride ion transport test, is numerically simulated. The simulation provides a linear relationship between ionic concentration and ionic flux, which indicates that the diffusion part is negligible under a strong external voltage environment. The numerical models along with adjustments for the concentration-dependent diffusion coefficients, a pore structure factor (from electrical measurements) and chloride binding considerations are found to be successful in predicting the chloride penetration depth into plain and modified concretes under imposed electrical potentials. Moisture transport through cracked concrete was examined in the second part of this thesis. To better understand the crack's influence on the permeability, modified Louis' equation was chosen to relate the permeability with crack characteristics. 3D concrete crack models were developed using a MATLAB program with distinct crack tortuosities, roughnesses and sizes. As a comparison, Navier-Stokes equation and the Lattice Boltzmann method were also applied on the 3D model of the cracked concrete to evaluate their permeability. The methodology developed here is expected to be useful in understanding the influence of cracking on moisture transport, and when properly coupled with an ionic transport model that will be further developed, helps comprehensively understand the coupling effects of moisture and ionic transport on deterioration in concrete structures.