Unsaturated nanoporomechanics

Hoang Nguyen, Saeed Rahimi-Aghdam, Zdeněk P. Bažant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Although some important advances in the modeling of sorption and hygrothermal deformations of nanoporous materials such as hydrated cement paste, shale, coal, and some other rocks and soils have already been made, a comprehensive nanoporomechanics theory remains elusive. Here we strive to formulate it based on Gibb’s free energy of the solid–fluid system and on the recently derived Nguyen–Rahimi–Bažant (NRB) isotherm, which corrects the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) isotherm for the effect of hindered adsorbed water in filled nanopores and extends through the capillary range up to saturation. The challenge is to capture all of the basic types of relevant published experimental data, including 1) a complete sorption isotherm of hydrated cement paste (including the capillary range), 2) pore size distribution, 3) autogenous shrinkage, 4) drying shrinkage and swelling, 5) water loss or humidity change due to heating, 6) thermal expansion at various humidities, and 7) water loss of specimens caused by compression. The previous models can fit only a few data types. The present model fits all of them. It is ready for computer simulations needed to minimize the deleterious moisture effects on long-time deformations, cracking damage, and fracture in concrete infrastructure and thereby to reduce indirectly the enormous carbon footprint of concrete. Adaptations to shale, coal beds, etc., are possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3440-3445
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 18 2020


  • Biot
  • Coefficient
  • Hindered adsorbed water
  • Shrinkage
  • Swelling
  • Unsaturated poromechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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