Pore size and shape in mortar by thermoporometry

Zhenhua Sun, George W. Scherer

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192 Scopus citations


The pore structure of mortar (w/c = 0.55) was examined using thermoporometry (TPM), nitrogen adsorption/desorption (NAD), and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). The TPM measurements were calibrated by comparison to NAD and MIP measurements on porous glass; similar comparisons were made on dried and resaturated mortars. For undried mortars, TPM provides the size of pore entries (from the freezing cycle) and interiors (from the melting cycle). In keeping with previous studies, we find that there is an unfrozen layer of water between the ice and the pore wall in porous glass that is about 0.8 nm thick; when lime-saturated water is used, the thickness of that layer increases by about 10%. In mortar, the unfrozen layer is about 1.0-1.2 nm thick, so no freezing occurs in pores with diameters ≤ 4.5 nm, at least down to - 40 °C (where the radius of the crystal/liquid interface is ∼ 1.5 nm). Based on the hysteresis in the freezing and melting curves, the larger mesopores in mortar were found to be rather spheroidal, while the smaller ones were more cylindrical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-751
Number of pages12
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


  • Freezing and thawing (C)
  • Mercury porosimetry (B)
  • Microstructure (B)
  • Pore size distribution (B)
  • Thermodynamic calculations (B)


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