Modeling of damage in cement-based materials subjected to external sulfate attack. II: Comparison with experiments

Raphaël Tixier, Barzin Mobasher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


A study is presented to predict the degradation of cement-based materials due to external sulfate attack. Parameters of the model are chosen based on the mix design parameters, degree of hydration, and exposure conditions of concrete. A solution of the diffusion equation with a term for a second-order chemical reaction is proposed to determine the sulfate concentration and calcium aluminate profile as a function of time and space. The crystallization pressure of hydration products such as ettringite can lead to internal stresses. Using the volumetric information, the model predicts the generation of internal stresses, evolution of damage, reduction in stiffness, and thus expansion of a matrix phase. The theoretical expansion-time responses are obtained and compared with a variety of available data in the literature. The most important parameters are the w/c ratio, internal porosity, diffusivity of the cracked and uncracked material, and available calcium aluminates. The importance of controlling the pH of the test solution is clearly observed. Model simulations indicate a reasonable agreement with experimental expansion-time data available in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-322
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Cements
  • Concrete
  • Damage
  • Models
  • Sulfates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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