Effects of Concrete Delamination and Cracking on Electrical Resistivity Measurement Results

Electrical resistivity is one of the nondestructive evaluation techniques commonly used in the assessment of concrete’s corrosive environment and to it anticipated reinforcement’s corrosion rate. Electrical resistivity measurements are commonly done using a four-electrode Wenner probe. The assumption of the measurement is that the material tested is in general homogenous, with respect to its electrical conductivity. The effect of anomalies, like presence of cracks and delamination, or significant variations in the concrete’s electrical conductivity, on the measured electrical resistivity is less understood. The results of the analysis of the effect of delamination and cracking on electrical resistivity (ER) measurements in concrete are presented. The analysis was done through a numerical simulation of a Wenner probe ER testing by the COMSOL Multiphysics® finite element software. The numerical solution was validated through a comparison of results with an analytical solution. A parametric study was conducted on a model of a concrete deck with and without delamination and cracks, where the thickness, depth, orientation and moisture condition of a delamination was varied. Models for sixty cases were generated, and the corresponding electrical resistivity, for the assumption of the Wenner probe setup, evaluated. The results show that an increase in the delamination thickness and moisture content has a significant impact on the measured ER. The effect of the delamination decreases with an increase of the depth of delamination, while the orientation angle of delamination has a significant effect on the measured ER.

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