Leaching of Conductive Species: Implications to Measurements of Electrical Resistivity

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Electrical tests have been used to characterize the microstructure of porous materials, the measured electrical response being determined by the contribution of the microstructure (porosity and tortuosity) and the electrical properties of the solution (conductivity of the pore solution) inside the pores of the material. This study has shown how differences in concentration between the pore solution (i.e., the solution in the pores) and the storage solution surrounding the test specimen leads to significant transport (leaching) of the conductive ionic species between the pore solution and the storage solution. Leaching influences the resistivity of the pore solution, thereby influencing electrical measurements on the bulk material from either a surface or uniaxial bulk resistance test. This paper has three main conclusions: 1.) Leaching of conductive species does occur with concentration gradients and that a diffusion based approach can be used to estimate the time scale associated with this change. 2.) Leaching of ions in the pore solution can influence resistivity measurements, and the ratio of surface to uniaxial resistivity can be used as a method to assess the presence of leaching and 3.) An estimation of the magnitude of leaching for standardized tests of cementitious materials.