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(Issued 1 Dec.

1992) C 48

CRD-C 48-92

Standard Test Method for Water Permeability of Concrete

1. Scope by 152-mm) cylindrical specimens.

The apparatus is composed of the
1.1 This method of test covers a following items:
procedure for determining the per- 2.1.1 Specimen Containers:
meability of concrete when subjected Containers for 14-1/2- by
to water at a pressure of 200 psi 15-in. (368- by 381-mm) specimens
(1.38 MPa). The calculations are shall consist of steel cylinders (Note)
based upon an application of Darcy’s with a retainer ring at the bottomand
law for unidirectional flow at constant a flange at the top. A removable cover
head. of 1-1/2-in. (38-mm) steel and a re-
movable bottom of at least 1/2-in. (13-
2. Apparatus mm) steel plate (Note) shall be pro-
vided for bolting to the container. The
2.1 The permeability test appara- flange shall have a 1/4-in.- (6.4-mm-)
tus shall be as indicated schematically wide by 1/4-in.- (6.4-mm-) deep
in Fig. 1 and as illustrated typically
in Fig. 2, page 2. Two sizes of ap-
paratus have been used; one, illus- Note.- Containers for the larger specimens may be
trated in Figs. 1 and 2, accommodates made from 16-in.- (406-mm-) OD pipe and for the smaller
specimens from 7-in.- (178-mm-) ID pipe. The covers for
14-1/2-in.- (368-mm-) diameter by the containers may consist either of flat plates or domed
1 5 - i n . - (381-mm-) high cylindrical castings; the domed design facilitates the removal of
entrapped air. T h e c o n t a i n e r s s h o w n i n F i g . 2 h a v e
specimens; the other, of similar de- 1-1/2-in. (38-mm) bottoms; such thick bottoms are not
sign, accommodates 6- by 6-in. (152- required for tests made according to this method.

Fig. 1. Permeability test assembly (schematic)

C 48 (Issued 1 Dec. 1992)

2 CRD-C 48-92

3. Utilities

3.1 Compressed Air.- Compressed

air (Note) at 210-250 psi (1.45-1.72
MPa) for use at 100 and 200 psi (0.69
and 1.38 MPa) shall be provided.

Note.- Compressed nitrogen may be used instead of

compressed air if it is more readily available.

3.2 Vacuum.- A vacuum pump or

other source of reduced pressure ca-
pable of exhausting the system and
maintaining a vacuum of 29 in. (9.79
x 1 04 P a ) o f m e r c u r y s h a l l b e
3.3 Water.- A supply of water at
73.4 ± 2 F (23 ± 1.1 C) shall be pro-
vided so that there will be available
Fig. 2. Permeability apparatus n o t l e s s t h a n 5 g a l ( 0 . 0 1 9 m3 ) f o r e a c h
l a r g e s p e c i m e n a n d 2 g a l ( 0 . 0 0 8 m3 )
gasket groove and the cover shall have for each small specimen that may be
a raised tongue fitted so as to mesh under test at any one time.
with the groove. A rubber or neoprene
strip of 1/4- by 1/4-in. (6.4- by 6.4- 4. Temperature
mm) cross section shall be used as the
gasket. 4.1 The tests shall be conducted in Containers for the 6- by a room maintained at 73.4 ± 2 F
6-in. (152- by 152-mm) specimens (23 ± 1.1 C).
shall be made of steel (Note) with a
cover, flange, and gasket as described 5. Calibration of Water Reservoir
above. T h e s e c o n t a i n e r s w i l l b e
placed on sheet metal squares pro- 5.1 Each water reservoir shall be
vided with drain holes when in use. calibrated using water under 200-psi
The containers and sheet metal (1.38-MPa) pressure. A small rubber
squares are sealed together by a thin hose is fitted by means of a threaded
layer of grease along the contact sur- adapter to the bleeder valve in the
face when in use. line between the reservoir and the
2.1.2 Water Reservoir.- The water specimen container. The valve to the
reservoir shall consist of a length of container is closed and the reservoir
2-in. (51-mm) pipe 48 in. (1219 mm) filled with water. Pressure at 200 psi
long to which is attached a side arm (1.38 MPa) is applied, all bleeder
gage glass provided with a graduated valves are opened to remove en-
scale. T h e r e s e r v o i r s h a l l b e c o n - trapped air, and are immediately
nected with suitable fittings, valves, closed when water issues from them.
and regulators to permit the admis- The 200-psi (1.38-MPa) pressure is
sion of water for filling, and for the then released and the reservoir is
application of air pressures of 100 or again filled with water to a point above
200 psi (0.69 or 1.38 MPa); and shall the zero mark on the graduated scale.
be connected to the specimen con- The 200-psi (1.38-MPa) pressure is
tainer. (Note) again applied and the bleeder valve is
opened slowly and quickly closed when
Note.- The length of the connection between the res- the water level in the reservoir and
ervoir and the container as shown in Fig. 1 is 50 ft gage glass is at the zero mark on the
(15 m). The assembly of apparatus using the smaller
containers provides for a minimum of 15 ft (4.6 m) of scale. Water is then removed from
line between the reservoir and the container. The length t h e s y s t e m a n d c a u g h t i n 5 0 0 - c m3
selected should be based onconsiderations of the rate of
water flow. the rate of absorption of air by water at the
increments in a graduated cylinder.
operating pressure, and the inconvenience of replacing A f t e r e a c h 5 0 0 - c m3 i n c r e m e n t t h e
the water in the system so that the water in contact with
the specimen at no time contains more than 0.2 percent level in the gage glass is read on the
air. scale. The calibration constant for
(Issued 1 Dec. 1992) C 48

CRD-C 48-92 3

the reservoir is calculated from these of mercury. The system shall then
r e a d i n g s a n d i s e x p r e s s e d i n c m3 p e r be filled with water at 73.4 ± 2 F ( 2 3
unit length on the scale. ± 1.1 C) until the vacuum gage shows
an abrupt decrease to about 20 in.
6. Specimens (6.75 x 104 Pa) of mercury, at which
time the vacuum valve shall be closed.
6.1 Specimens shall be made and Trapped air shall be flushed out
cured as specified in the applicable through the bleeder valve and the
sections of CRD-C’s 10 and 49. bleeder valve then closed. With
bleeder and bypass valves closed,
7. Procedure 100-psi (0.69-MPa) air pressure shall
be applied to the water reservoir.
7.1 Preparation of Specimens.-The The overflow standpipe valve shall be
top and bottom of the specimen shall opened. After 5 min the air pressure
be sandblasted to remove the surface shall be increased to 200 psi (1.38
layer of cement paste. The sides MPa). The gage glass level shall be
shall then be coated with two coats of observed and recorded daily with the
a 70:30 by weight mixture of paraffin time of observation recorded to the
and rosin, applied hot using a paint- nearest 0.1 hr (Note 1). Observations
brush. Care shall be taken to prevent shall be continued until the flow be-
the paraffin-rosin mixture from get- comes essentially constant, normally
ting on the ends of the specimens and for 14 to 20 days. The water in each
any drops that do so shall be care- assembly shall be replaced at suffi-
fully removed by wire brushing. ciently frequent intervals so that at
7.2 Installation of Specimens.- The no time the water in contact with the
inner surface of the container shall specimen has an air content greater
be coated with one coat of the paraffin- than 0.2 percent (Note 2). For normal
rosin mixture and a 1/4-in. (6.4-mm) rates of flow using apparatus of the
layer of high-strength plaster (Note) sort described, changing the water
shall be placed on the retainer ring once a week has been found to be suf-
at the bottom. The specimen shall be ficient to prevent excessive air con-
lowered immediately into the con- tent. The flushing operation shall be
tainer and firmly seated in the plaster accomplished by relieving the air
ring before the plaster sets. A 1/4-in. pressure and flushing approximately
(6.4-mm) metal rod may be used as a 5 g a l ( 0 . 0 1 9 m3 ) o f w a t e r t h r o u g h e a c h
guide and lever between the specimen l a r g e a s s e m b l y o r 2 g a l ( 0 . 0 0 8 m3 )
and the inner wall of the container to through each small assembly.
assist in centering the specimen. Af-
ter the plaster has set, a 1-in. (51-
Note 1.- Careful observations shall be made to de-
mm) layer of paraffin-rosin shall be tect and correct any leaks that may develop in the sys-
poured into the annular space between tem, especially at plumbing connections or through the
seal around the specimens. Whenever the flow between
the specimen and the container, the successive readings appears excessive, the possibility
remainder of the annular space shall of leaks in the system should be suspected and appro-
priate inspection made to detect and correct them.
be filled with 200- to 300-penetration
asphalt heated to 230 F (110 C). The
depression of the asphalt filling Note 2.- The air content of the water shall be deter-
formed upon cooling and shrinkage mined by measuring the volume of air that escapes from
a measured volume of the water maintained at 73.4 ± 2 F
shall be filled with paraffin-rosin. (23 ± 1.1 C) and atmospheric pressure for 24 ± 4 hr.
The paraffin-rosin layers thus en-
close the asphalt and prevent it from
escaping through the plaster or mix- 8. Calculation
ing with the water. The cover shall
then be bolted on, the bottom attached, 8.1 The differences of daily read-
and all connections made. ings of water reservoir level are con-
verted to volume of water flow in ml
Note.- “Hydrostone,” manufactured by the U.S.
Gypsum Co., is recommended. by multiplying by the reservoir cali-
bration constant. The rate of flow in
7.3 Pressure Testing.- The system c m3 p e r h r i s o b t a i n e d b y d i v i d i n g
shall be exhausted to a reduced pres- volume by elapsed time in hours be-
s u r e o f a t l e a s t 2 8 i n . ( 9 . 4 6 x 1 04 P a ) tween readings. Permeability is then
C 48 (Issued 1 Dec. 1992)

4 CRD-C 48-92

calculated from the following formula: mens respectively for changing

c m3 /hr to (Note).
K = M x 23.35 x 10 -12 o r

K = M x 5 4 . 5 5 x 1 0- 1 2 N o t e . - C u f t / s e c x 2 . 8 3 1 6 8 5 E - 0 2 = m 3 /s.

where: 9. Report

K = permeability in 9.1 The report shall include per-

tinent data on the characteristics of
M = average flow rate for the final the concrete used in the specimens,
5 d a y s o f t h e t e s t i n c m3 / h r , the age at which the specimens were
and tested, values for permeability of
2 3 . 3 5 x 1 0- 1 2 o r 5 4 . 5 5 x 1 0- 1 2 = c o n - each specimen, average values for
version factors for 14-1/2- by 15- groups of similar specimens, and
in. (368- by 381-mm) and for 6- by notations of any unusual features of
6-in. (152- by 152-mm) speci- the testing procedure.

Derivation of Equations

Darcy’s law for fluid flow in a permeable medium

can be expressed as

K = hydraulic conductivity (or coefficient or per-
M = flow rate Reducing this relationship further, we find that
A = Area of permeable medium perpendicular to K = M x 2.550 x 10 -10 x (1)
h = hydraulic head where M has units of cm3 /hr, A is the area
perpendicular to flow in square inches, and L is the
L = length of flow path
length of the specimen in inches. For a specimen with a
This relationship, along with those listed below, were diameter of 14-1/2 in. and a length of 15 in., L/A =
used to calculate the factors in CRD-C 48. The 0.09085. Using this value of L/A, I calculate
following relationships apply:
K = M x 2.550 x 10-10 x 0.09085 =
1 c m3 = 3.531 x 10 -5 ft 3
M x 23.17 x 10-12
1 ft 2 = 144 in 2
For a diameter of 6 in. and a length of 6 in., L/A =
1 hr = 3600 sec 0.2122. Thus, I calculate
K = M x 54.11 x 10-12
h =
These values are reasonably close to the values
where given in CRD-C 48. The difference is in the significant
figures used in conversion factors and constants.
P = water pressure
= density of water For specimens of other dimensions, one has only
to calculate the L/A ratio of the specimen and use Equa-
Thus, Darcy’s Law becomes
tion (1) given above.
K=M x 3.531 x 10-5 f t 3 1 hr
cm 3600 sec