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Permeation describes the process of movement of fluids through the pore structure
under an externally applied pressure and the pores are saturated with the fluid.
Permeability is therefore a measure of the capacity for concrete to transfer fluids by

Oxygen Gas Permeability Test:

It consists of a cylindrical pressure vessel over which the specimen is placed. The
specimen is placed inside a rubber collar which is confined in a GI collar having a height 1 cm
less than the rubber collar. A vertical force is applied to compress the rubber so that the rubber
compresses into the steel jacket and exerts a lateral pressure on the concrete creating an air tight
arrangement. A pressure gauge is used to measure the pressure drop. The oxygen gas inlet nozzle
of the pressure vessel is provided near the bottom so that the air can be flushed out through the
outlet nozzle provided at top before the start of the test. The test is started with pure oxygen in
the pressure vessel at a pressure of 1 bar which results in the flow of oxygen under a pressure
gradient. A cover plate is provided with holes to let the oxygen escape out of the concrete. The
oxygen permeability apparatus used is essentially a falling head permeameter. Considering the
flow as laminar and applying Darcys equation (Q = kiA) modified for the falling head condition
along with gas equation (PV = nRT) give the permeability of concrete.

The DArcy coeffi cient of permeability is determined by placing 70mm diameter by

30mm thick oven-dried concrete samples (representing the cover layer of concrete) in a falling
head permeameter. The samples are obtained either from cubes made in the laboratory or cores
drilled from structural elements.
The falling head permeameter applies an initial pressure to the concrete sample and
allows the pressure to decay with time. The pressure decay with time is measured and is

converted to a linear relationship between the logarithm of the ratio of pressure head Vs time,
from which the DArcy coefficient of permeability (k) is determined.
wVgd Po

RA t P
k coefficient of permeability (m/s)
w molecular mass of permeating gas (kg/mol)
V volume of the pressure cylinder (m3)
d thickness of the specimen (m)
R Universal gas constant (Nm/K mole)
A C/S area of the specimen (m2)
absolute temperature (K)
t time (s)
Po pressure at start of test (kPa)
P Pressure at time t (kPa)
The coefficient of permeability (k) is a clumsy exponential number and therefore is simplified by
defining the oxygen permeability index (OPI):
OPI = -log10 k