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Water held in the pores of a solid becomes unstable when cooled to temperatures below 0°C. If the conditions permit, the water leaves the pores and ice accumulates outside the system. In case of high cooling rate, high degree of saturation, and long diffusion path, the water cannot reach the external surface and solidifies in a glassy, amorphous state. Mechanical damage occurs only in the latter case. This mechanism is not indigenous to any single type of solid, thus it is applicable to cement paste, stone, and brick, and could be used for increasing the durability of porous materials and for improving test procedures.
freezing and thawing, frost action, freezing, concrete brick, stone, durability, building materials
Senior research officer, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.