A Numerical Approach for Non-Linear Moisture Flow in Porous Materials with Account to Sorption Hysteresis

Björn Johannesson, U. Nyman

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    A numerical approach for moisture transport in porous materials like concrete is presented. The model considers mass balance equations for the vapour phase and the water phase in the material together with constitutive equations for the mass flows and for the exchange of mass between the two phases. History-dependent sorption behaviour is introduced by considering scanning curves between the bounding desorption and absorption curves. The method, therefore, makes it possible to calculate equilibrium water contents for arbitrary relative humidity variations at every material point considered. The scanning curves for different wetting and drying conditions are constructed by using third degree polynomial expressions. The three coefficients describing the scanning curves is determined for each wetting and drying case by assuming a relation between the slope of boundary sorption curve and the scanning curve at the point where the moisture response enters the scanning domain. Furthermore, assuming that the slope of the scanning curve is the same as the boundary curve at the junction point, that is, at the point where the scanning curve hits the boundary curve once leaving the scanning domain, a complete cyclic behaviour can be considered. A finite element approach is described, which is capable of solving the non-linear coupled equation system. The numerical calculation is based on a Taylor expansion of the residual of the stated problem together with the establishment of a Newton-Raphson equilibrium iteration scheme within the time steps. Examples are presented illustrating the performance and potential of the model. Two different types of measurements on moisture content profiles in concrete are used to verify the relevance of the novel proposed model for moisture transport and sorption. It is shown that a good match between experimental results and model predictions can be obtained by fitting the included material constants and parameters.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTransport in Porous Media
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)735-754
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Moisture
    • Sorption hysteresis
    • Sorption
    • Finite elements
    • Transport model
    • Numerical methods
    • Diffusion


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