International Symposium (NDTCE 2003) NonDestructive Testing in Civil Engineering 2003  
Start > Contributions >Lectures > Materials 1: 
Relationship between porosity, permeability and ultrasonic parameters in sound and damaged mortarMarc GoueygouIEMN DOAE UMR CNRS 8520, Ecole Centrale de Lille, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France Zoubeir Lafhaj LML URA CNRS 1441, Ecole Centrale de Lille, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France Mariusz Kaczmarek Institute of Environmental Mechanics, Bydgoszcz University, Poland AbstractThe relationship between porosity, permeability and acoustic parameters of mortar samples measured by ultrasonic NDT is investigated. In order to enhance the sensitivity of the ultrasonic wave to microstructure, a high frequency range (0.3 to 1.3 MHz) is chosen. Samples are fabricated with mortar of 4 different water/cement ratio and half of them were gradually chemically degraded for 4 periods of time. The effect of water saturation is also studied. This procedure yields a wide range of porosity (from 10% to 35%) and permeability values (from 10^{ }to 25 10^{18 }m^{2}). For sound materials the correlation between physical and acoustic parameters yields the expected trend: velocity decreases with porosity and permeability, attenuation increases for dry samples and decreases for saturated samples. Similar behavior was not clearly observed in degraded samples. 1 IntroductionThe concrete cover is a protective barrier against aggressive agents that may penetrate into the structure and induce corrosion of rebars. Therefore, on site evaluation of the quality of this cover is essential to predict at an early stage the durability of the structure and define a strategy of its maintenance. Porosity and permeability are of main interest, as moisture and chemicals can penetrate through connected pores. Acoustic and ultrasonic waves are directly influenced by its elastic parameters. In homogeneous media, the compression and shear wave velocities are related to elastic moduli:
where E is the dynamic Young's modulus, u the Poisson ratio and r denotes the density. As elastic moduli depend on porosity, it is possible that there is a relationship between porosity, permeability, and ultrasonic parameters. Velocity is expected to decrease and attenuation to increase as porosity increases (Ould Naffa et al., 2002). However, those trends may differ for saturated materials. Recently, Hernandez at al. (2000) obtained extremely precise estimates of porosity by ultrasonic NDT. The estimate is based on micromechanical model established by Jeong and Hsu (1996). However, such model has many parameters as inputs, which may not be a priori known. In addition, only sound samples were studied and porosity increase by induced degradation was not addressed. The presented study intends to relate porosity and permeability of mortar samples with their ultrasonic parameters. Mortar is chosen instead of concrete in order to limit excessive attenuation of ultrasonic waves due to scattering by large grains. Mortar samples were fabricated with four different water/cement (w/c) ratios. Porosity and permeability of those samples were further varied by chemical degradation in ammonium nitrate. Ultrasonic parameters (pulse and phase velocity, attenuation) of compression and shear wave are obtained by broadband ultrasonic spectroscopy (Eggers,1996). Those measurements are made either in direct contact on dry samples or by immersion on water saturated samples. 2 Methods2.1 Sample preparation
Porosity measurements are made by the gravimetric method for all compositions through dumping of samples in water. The permeability tests are based on the measurement of intrinsic permeability by gas injection while samples must be dried before the tests. A moderate oven drying at a temperature of 60°C was carried out. Drying was stopped as soon as the sample weight remained constant. A comparison of this method with the more aggressive overdrying method at 105°C was made. It appeared very effective and did not exhibit significant thermal microcracking. 2.2 Chemical degradation 2.3 Permeability measurement As the material is supposed to be completely filled with gas, the measured permeability can be considered intrinsic (according to generalized Darcy's law) and not relative. This would have been the case if water (or other liquid) was significantly present in the porous network. The experimental apparatus enables permeability ranging from 10^{12} to 10^{21 }m^{2} to be measured (representing hydraulic conductivity between 10^{5} to 10^{14} m/s for water at 20°C). Measurement is carried out in a steady state flow with a moderate injection pressure of 1.5 MPa. To apply Darcy's law, the medium should be saturated with a single fluid phase and the flow must be laminar. We may assert that a laminar flow takes place if the Reynolds number is lower than 10^{3 }(Coussy, 1990). This number can be evaluated by where r is the specific mass of the gas, h is the dynamic viscosity and V_{c} is the relative velocity with respect to the solid skeleton. l_{c} is a characteristic length which is of the same order as where is the intrinsic permeability tensor. With an expected permeability value of 10^{17}m^{2}, an extremely small value of R (less than 10^{3}) is obtained. This proves that the flow will be laminar. Such precautions allow the study to be placed within the conditions of Darcy's law, which is used for a onedimensional flow. Argon is also assumed to be an ideal gas and this can be justified within the range of the pressure used (Iffly, 1956). For x = 0, P (x) = Pi is the injection pressure and for x= h, P (x) = Po the draining pressure which is maintained at atmospheric level in this case. In this test, longitudinal permeability, noted K_{x}, will be measured. In a steady injection state, the pressure variation in the sample is given by the wellknown expression:
Darcy's law can be written for a onedimensional flow:
where V_{x} is the gas velocity and m its viscosity(2.2 10^{5} Pa.s). The method of measurement is based on an assessment of the mean entry gas flow Q_{m} in the sample. The injection pressure of 1.5MPa and the very low value of the flow make the use of commercial flow transducers difficult; as a result, an indirect measurement method is developed, using a buffer reservoir at the entry point of the sample (Figure 2), in order to measure the volume flow rate entering through the sample. This method is carried out in three steps:
This method has been checked on many occasions when it was possible to directly measure the flow. A similar method for measuring gas permeability can be found in Dinku et al. (1997) under more complex conditions.The use of Darcy's law and of equation 3 from which P_{i} = P_{m} was taken, gives the following:
where S is the sample cross section.
2.4 Ultrasonic measurements
where e is the sample thickness. A better precision would have been achieved by considering time delay between multiple echos inside the sample, but only one signal could be observed in degraded samples, due to excessive attenuation. Attenuation is measured in pulseecho mode by the buffer rod method (Papadakis, 1973). This method allows unbiased attenuation estimates by eliminating the influence of transducer coupling that would occur in direct contact transmission mode. It consists in introducing a 10mm plexiglas buffer between the transducer and the sample. First, the backwall echo from the buffer is recorded without sample, yielding a signal with spectrum denoted A'(f). Second, the sample is coupled with a gel to the buffer and two signals are recorded: the buffer/sample interface echo and the sample backwall echo, with spectrum denoted respectively A(f) and B(f). Finally, the attenuation versus frequency is derived from the following equation:
where is the buffer/sample reflection coefficient. As we are mainly interested in relative variation of attenuation with w/c ratio and degradation, not in absolute attenuation values, no diffraction correction is made on attenuation curves. Attenuation was measured for longitudinal waves and on sound samples only, since no backwall echo could be observed when testing degraded samples, again because of excessive attenuation related to high porosity.
where A_{1} (f) and A_{2}(f)are amplitudes, j_{1}(f) and j_{2}(f) are phases of the spectral components of the reference and measured pulses, n is the total number of wavelength for a given frequency which is contained in the distance L_{2}  L_{1} . One important advantage of the applied method is that it allows to disregard correction for lost of energy due to the reflected wave. The shear wave parameters can also be studied by tilting the sample until the refracted longitudinal wave is transmitted away from the receiving transducer (Yew et al., 1979). However, only longitudinal waves transmission through sound samples have been considered in the immersion study. 3 Experimental results3.1 Porosity and permeability
3.2 Attenuation and phase velocity of sound samples
For the same w/c ratio, a significant dispersion of attenuation values is noticed. However, it appears that attenuation increases with w/c ratio, especially around 1 MHz. The porosity increase probably induces more heterogeneity and scattering. Assuming a power attenuation law, such as:
an increase of attenuation slope a _{0} and exponent y are observed between w/c ratio 0.3 (a _{0} = 3 dB/cm/MHz and y = 0.4 ) and 0.6 (a _{0} = 16 dB/cm/MHz and y = 1.5). Values of a _{0} and y were obtained by linear regression of the loglog plot of the attenuation curves around the central frequency. Attenuation was also measured around 0.6 and 1 MHz on saturated samples by the immersion technique (Fig. 8 and 9). The obtained values are not identical, but comparable to the one for dry samples. It is interesting to notice that the observed trend versus w/c ratio is opposite to the one obtained for dry samples: attenuation decreases with w/c ratio, i.e. increasing porosity (except for w/c = 0.5 at 1MHz). As observed in section 3.1, higher porosity in saturated material means higher permeability and water content, thus possibly less scattering and better "conductivity" of ultrasound. This suggests that propagation mechanisms are significantly different in dry and saturated materials.
Longitudinal wave phase velocity measured on dry samples is shown in figures 10 and 11. Velocity decreases as w/c ratio, porosity and permeability increases. Except for the 0.5 w/c ratio, dispersion goes from positive around 0.6 MHz to negative around 1 MHz. According to Waters et al. (2000), dispersion in a medium with power law attenuation (Eq.9) and 1<y<3 is given by:
It turns out that phase velocity should increase with frequency as 1< y <2 and decrease as 2< y <3. For w/c = 0.3, exponent y goes from 1.28 to 2.35. The observed behaviour of phase velocity versus frequency thus agrees with the model described by Eq.10. 3.3 Pulse velocity of degraded samples
4 ConclusionsThis study intended to relate physical parameters (porosity and permeability) and acoustical parameters (pulse and phase velocity, attenuation) of sound and damaged, dry or water saturated, mortar samples. In sound samples, despite a significant dispersion of experimental results, the expected trends were observed. Phase and pulse velocity decrease with porosity and permeability. The attenuation behaviour depends on material saturation. It was found to increase with porosity in dry samples, with just the opposite trend in water saturated samples. An interesting result is the change from positive to negative dispersion as frequency increases. Porosity of samples was further increased by chemical damage. Due to excessive attenuation, only the pulse velocity of longitudinal and shear waves could be measured. No clear correlation could be obtained between porosity and acoustic velocity in damaged samples. This is probably due to experimental problems that could be solved by carefully washing the samples prior to ultrasonic testing. This study also highlights the difficulty of obtaining accurate estimates of ultrasonic parameters, because of the high variability of the material under study. Solving this problem would require a fair amount of experimental data and an appropriate equipment to acquire weak signals. The present study shows how ultrasonic parameters are expected to evolve as physical parameters related to damage vary. This observation is significant from the viewpoint of the undertaken project focused on quantitative interpretation of data acquired on site using ultrasonic NDT techniques. 5 AcknowledgmentsThanks to Ms. Bahia Talbi and Mr. Michal Pakula for their assistance with measurements. Part of this work was supported by the "Réseau Génie Civil et Urbain"of the French Ministry of Education and Research. References

