Methods of test for concrete permeability: A critical review

Jose Milla, Tara L. Cavalline, Tyson D. Rupnow, Bharath Melugiri-Shankaramurthy, Gilson Lomboy, Kejin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The transport of liquids, gasses, and aggressive agents into concrete is responsible for a variety of durability issues. To obtain the low-permeability concrete required for long-lasting, sustainable infrastructure, stakeholders desire the ability to specify concrete based upon the permeability rating for specific uses. The mechanisms of moisture ingress into concrete are complex phenomena, and they are highly dependent on materials, mixture characteristics, curing conditions, and other factors. This review article provides an overview of the available permeability test methods and identifies existing gaps in the current field and knowledge. It discusses the mechanisms and key factors influencing moisture movement within concrete (capillary suction, absorption, water, and gas permeability) and outlines the procedures, advantages, and limitations of available permeability test methods. Despite a variety of tests available for water permeability, widespread acceptance for use of a single (or even a few) tests has not been achieved. No clear link exists between these tests and acceptable field performance. Additionally, several tests are viewed as problematic from a time, cost, or variability standpoint. Therefore, improved rapid permeability tests are needed to provide a pathway for agencies to move toward performance specifications with confidence. Recommendations regarding future work to support the development of improved test methods and, potentially, a model that would predict moisture ingress based on electrical resistivity, are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-209
Number of pages38
JournalAdvances in Civil Engineering Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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