Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Century-long expansion of hydrating cement counteracting concrete shrinkage due to humidity drop from selfdesiccation or external drying

Rahimi-Aghdam, S., Masoero, E., Rasoolinejad, M. and Ba?ant, Z. P. 2019. Century-long expansion of hydrating cement counteracting concrete shrinkage due to humidity drop from selfdesiccation or external drying. Materials and Structures 52 (1) , 11. 10.1617/s11527-018-1307-8

[thumbnail of Rahimi-Aghdam2019_Article_Century-longExpansionOfHydrati.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


A physically based model for auotgenous shrinkage and swelling of portland cement paste is necessary for computation of long-time hydgrothermal effects in concrete structures. The goal is to propose such a model. As known since 1887, the volume of cement hydration products is slightly smaller than the original volume of cement and water (chemical shrinkage). Nevertheless, this does not imply that the hydration reaction results in contraction of the concrete and cement paste. According to the authors’ recently proposed paradigm, the opposite is true for the entire lifetime of porous cement paste as a whole. The hydration process causes permanent volume expansion of the porous cement paste as a whole, due to the growth of C–S–H shells around anhydrous cement grains which pushes the neighbors apart, while the volume reduction of hydration products contributes to porosity. Additional expansion can happen due to the growth of ettringite and portlandite crystals. On the material scale, the expansion always dominates over the contraction, i.e., the hydration per se is, in the bulk, always and permanently expansive, while the source of all of the observed shrinkage, both autogenous and drying, is the compressive elastic or viscoelastic strain in the solid skeleton caused by a decrease of chemical potential of pore water, along with the associated decrease in pore relative humidity. As a result, the selfdesiccation, shrinkage and swelling can all be predicted from one and the same unified model, in which, furthermore, the low-density and high-density C–S–H are distinguished. A new thermodynamic formulation of unsaturated poromechanics with capillarity and adsorption is presented. The recently formulated local continuum model for calculating the evolution of hydration degree and a new formulation of nonlinear desorption isotherm are important for realistic and efficient finite element analysis of shrinkage and swelling. Comparisons with the existing relevant experimental evidence validate the proposed model.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1359-5997
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 20 December 2018
Last Modified: 20 May 2023 10:11

Citation Data

Cited 13 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics