Carbonation causes a physicochemical alteration of cement-based materials, leading to a decrease of porosity and an increase of material hardness and strength. However, carbonation will decrease the pH of the internal pore water solution, which may depassivate the internal reinforcing steel, giving rise to structural durability concerns. Therefore, the proper selection of materials informed by parameters sensitive to the carbonation process is crucial to ensure the durability of concrete structures. The authors investigate the feasibility of using linear and nonlinear dynamic vibration response data to monitor the progression of the carbonation process in cement-based materials. Mortar samples with dimensions of 40×40×160 mm were subjected to an accelerated carbonation process through a carbonation chamber with 55% relative humidity and >95% of CO2 atmosphere. The progress of carbonation in the material was monitored using data obtained with the test setup of the standard resonant frequency test (ASTM C215-14), from a pristine state until an almost fully carbonated state. Linear dynamic modulus, quality factor, and a material nonlinear response, evaluated through the upward resonant frequency shift during the signal ring-down, were investigated. The compressive strength and the depth of carbonation were also measured. Carbonation resulted in a modest increase in the dynamic modulus, but a substantive increase in the quality factor (inverse attenuation) and a decrease in the material nonlinearity parameter. The combined measurement of the vibration quality factor and nonlinear parameter shows potential as a sensitive measure of material changes brought about by carbonation.
Carbonation is an important deleterious process for concrete structures. Carbonation begins when carbon dioxide (CO2) present in the atmosphere reacts with portlandite producing calcium carbonate (CaCO3). In severe carbonation conditions, C-S-H gel is decomposed into silica gel (SiO2.nH2O) and CaCO3. As a result, concrete pore water pH decreases (usually below 10) and eventually steel reinforcing bars become unprotected from corrosion agents. Usually, the carbonation of the cementing matrix reduces the porosity, because CaCO3 crystals (calcite and vaterite) occupy more volume than portlandite. In this study, an accelerated carbonation-ageing process is conducted on Portland cement mortar samples with water to cement ratio of 0.5. The evolution of the carbonation process on mortar is monitored at different levels of ageing until the mortar is almost fully carbonated. A nondestructive technique based on nonlinear acoustic resonance is used to monitor the variation of the constitutive properties upon carbonation. At selected levels of ageing, the compressive strength is obtained. From fractured surfaces the depth of carbonation is determined with phenolphthalein solution. An image analysis of the fractured surfaces is used to quantify the depth of carbonation. The results from resonant acoustic tests revealed a progressive increase of stiffness and a decrease of material nonlinearity.
Frost resistance of concrete is a major concern in cold regions. RILEM (International union of laboratories and experts in construction materials, systems and structures) recommendations provide two alternatives for evaluating frost damage by nondestructive evaluation methods for concrete like materials. The first method is based on the ultrasonic pulse velocity measurement, while the second alternative technique is based on the resonant vibration test. In this study, we monitor the frost damage in Portland cement mortar samples with water to cement ratio of 0.5 and aggregate to cement ratio of 3. The samples are completely saturated by water and are frozen for 24 hours at -25°C. The frost damage is monitored after 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 freezing-thawing cycles by nonlinear impact resonance acoustic spectroscopy (NIRAS). The results obtained are compared with those obtained by resonant vibration tests, the second alternative technique recommended by RILEM. The obtained results show that NIRAS is more sensitive to early stages of damage than the standard resonant vibration tests.
Glass fiber reinforced cement (GRC) is a Portland cement based composite with alkali resistant (AR) glass fibers. The
main drawback of this material is the ageing of the reinforcing fibers with time and especially in presence of humidity in
the environment. Until now only destructive methods have been used to evaluate the durability of GRC. In this study
ultrasonic guided wave inspection of plate shaped specimens has been carried out. The results obtained here show that
acoustic signatures are capable of discerning ageing in GRC. Therefore, the ultrasonic guided wave based inspection
technique is a promising method for the nondestructive evaluation of the durability of the GRC.