Volume 7, Issue 5 (May 2010)
Test Method for Determining the Efflorescence Potential of Masonry Materials Based on Soluble Salt Content
A single test method that is capable of determining the efflorescence potential for all materials in a masonry system is needed. The need for preconstruction testing is referenced in ASTM C1400-1—“Standard Guide for Reduction of Efflorescence Potential in New Masonry Walls”—but the standard acknowledges that there is not a suitable test method for all masonry materials. In the past, soluble salt measurements have been used to quantitatively access the efflorescence potential of masonry materials. To determine the water-soluble salt content of masonry materials, a simple leaching procedure was developed to remove the salts followed by quantification of the water-soluble salt content by ion chromatography. A series of modified efflorescence tests using salt solutions and real masonry materials has been used to determine the significance of water-soluble salt measurements. A clear threshold for soluble sulfate content that indicates a high potential for the development of visible efflorescence has been identified. Sulfate salts are the most common water-soluble compounds associated with efflorescence complaints.