Modelling of water permeability in cementitious materials

Ye Guang, Pietro Lura, K. van Breugel

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This paper presents a network model to predict the permeability of cement paste from a numerical simulation of its microstructure. Based on a linked list pore network structure, the effective hydraulic conductivity is estimated and the fluid flow is calculated according to the Hagen-Poiseuille law. The pressure gradient at all nodes is calculated with the Gauss elimination method and the absolute permeability of the pore network is calculated directly from Darcy's law. Finally, the permeability model is validated by comparison with direct water permeability measurements. According to this model, the predicted permeability of hydrating cement pastes is extremely sensitive to the particle size distribution of the cement and especially to the minimum size of the cement particles. Both in simulations and experiments, the permeability of cement pastes is mainly determined by the critical diameter and by the connectivity of the pore structure, regardless of w/c ratio and curing age. The permeability of cement pastes could be predicted reasonably well when a minimum particle size 1 mu m was chosen for the cement.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMaterials and Structures
    Issue number9
    Pages (from-to)877-885
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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