Electrochemical migration technique to accelerate ageing of cementitious materials
Paper in proceedings, 2013
Durability assessment of concrete structures for constructions in nuclear waste repositories requires long term service life predictions. As deposition of low and intermediate level radioactive waste (LILW) takes up to 100 000 years, it is necessary to analyze the service life of cementitious materials in this time perspective. Using acceleration methods producing aged specimens would decrease the need of extrapolating short term data sets. Laboratory methods are therefore, needed for accelerating the ageing process without making any influencing distortion in the properties of the materials. This paper presents an electro-chemical migration method to increase the rate of calcium leaching from cementitious specimens. This method is developed based on the fact that major long term deterioration process of hardened cement paste in concrete structures for deposition of LILW is due to slow diffusion of calcium ions. In this method the cementitious specimen is placed in an electrochemical cell as a porous path way through which ions can migrate at a rate far higher than diffusion process. The electrical field is applied to the cell in a way to accelerate the ion migration without making destructions in the specimen's micro and macroscopic properties. The anolyte and catholyte solutions are designed favoring dissolution of calcium hydroxide and compensating for the leached calcium ions with another ion like lithium.