Permeability study of cracked concrete

Kejin Wang*, Daniel C. Jansen, Surendra P. Shah, Alan F. Karr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

632 Scopus citations


Cracks in concrete generally interconnect flow paths and increase concrete permeability. The increase in concrete permeability due to the progression of cracks allows more water or aggressive chemical ions to penetrate into the concrete, facilitating deterioration. The present work studies the relationship between crack characteristics and concrete permeability. In this study, feedback controlled splitting tests are introduced to generate crack width-controlled concrete specimens. Sequential crack patterns with different crack widths are viewed under a microscope. The permeability of cracked concrete is evaluated by water permeability tests. The preliminary results indicate that crack openings generally accelerate water flow rate in concrete. When a specimen is loaded to have a crack opening displacement smaller than 50 microns prior to unloading, the crack opening has little effect on concrete permeability. When the crack opening displacement increases from 50 microns to about 200 microns, concrete permeability increases rapidly. After the crack opening displacement reaches 200 microns, the rate of water permeability increases steadily. The present research may provide insight into developing design criteria for a durable concrete and in predicting service life of a concrete structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-393
Number of pages13
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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