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Impact of reinforcement-concrete interfaces and cracking on gas transfer in concrete

Abstract : The durability of reinforced concrete structures is largely impacted by their transfer properties, which can be evaluated through, for example, permeability measurement. Usually, concrete permeability is studied on plain specimens and the effect of the presence of steel bars on permeability in reinforced concrete has been little studied in the literature. The steel-concrete interface presents a larger porosity than plain concrete, which can be the cause of preferential percolation paths for fluids. Such percolation paths could create a lower resistance to fluid transfer and modify transfer kinetics. For reinforced and prestressed structures with large reinforcement contents, such as found in nuclear power plants, the impact of the reinforcement on gas transfer should be identified to obtain a better assessment of the flow within the structure. The aim of this experimental study is to characterize the effect of the presence of reinforcement on such flows by measuring leakage rates, permeability, and time to reach the steady state. Measurements were performed with a Cembureau constant head permeameter on cylindrical concrete specimens with or without steel bars. Since gas transfer into concrete depends on the rate of saturation of the material, the specimens were tested at different degrees of saturation: 0%, 6%, 30%, 60%, 80%, 90% and 100%. The analysis quantifies the impact of the defects created by the steel bar for each state. The results show that material composed of concrete and reinforcement can be divided into two distinct permeability zones: the plain concrete and the steel - concrete interface with or without cracking. These two zones can be associated in series and/or in parallel according to the configuration. The consequences on permeability measurement in reinforced structures are discussed.
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Hognon Sogbossi, Jérôme Verdier, Stéphane Multon. Impact of reinforcement-concrete interfaces and cracking on gas transfer in concrete. Construction and Building Materials, Elsevier, 2017, 157, pp.521 - 533. ⟨10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2017.09.095⟩. ⟨hal-01876417⟩

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