Conceptual analysis is performed to examine the effects of pore features on the water continuity in unsaturated porous systems. The roles of pore features in relative chloride diffusion coefficient (Drc) of mortar specimens at various degrees of water saturation (Sw) were studied based on mercury intrusion porosimetry and resistivity tests. It is found that the role of pore structure in the Drc-Sw relationship is a result of its effect on the water continuity. Porosity and tortuosity are not relevant to the Drc-Sw relationship. A finer pore size distribution or lower pore connectivity tends to result in a lower Drc. The pore size effect on the Drc is pronounced primarily at high Sw, while the Drc is dominated by the pore connectivity at low Sw. Cement mortar with a higher water-to-binder ratio shows larger chloride diffusion at high relative humidity levels but smaller chloride diffusion at low relative humidity levels.
- Chloride diffusion
- Degree of water saturation
- Pore structure
- Relative humidity
- Supplementary cementitious materials