Effect of cracking in drying and shrinkage specimens

Zdeněk P. Baǎnt*, Warren J. Raftshol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The significance of cracking and microcracking caused by nonuniform drying shrinkage of test specimens is analyzed. To assure that no cracks are produced by drying in load-free specimens, one must lower the environmental humidity gradually and sufficiently slowly, and use very thin specimens (about 1 mm thick). Graphs for the maximum admissible rate of change of environmental humidity, calculated from both linear and nonlinear diffusion theories, are provided. The spacing and width of parallel cracks due to drying are estimated from fracture mechanics considerations. In normal size specimens the drying cracks are usually too narrow to be visible. Drying leads to discontinuous microcracking rather than continuous macrocracks and is represented better as strain softening than as an abrupt stress drop. Shrinkage cracking can increase drying diffusivity by several orders of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-226
Number of pages18
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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