American Society of Civil Engineers

Investigation of Water to Ice Phase Change in Porous Media by Ultrasonic and Dielectric Measurements

by Antonin Fabbri, Ph.D., (BRGM-GEO, 3 avenue Claude Guillemin, BP 6009, 45060 Orléans cedex 2, France; formerly, Université Paris-Est, U.R. Navier, LMSGC 2 allée Kepler, 77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France), Teddy Fen-Chong, (Res. Fellow, Université Paris-Est, U.R. Navier, LMSGC 2 alée Kepler, 77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France), Aza Azouni, (CNRS Res. Dir., Université Paris-Est, U.R. Navier, LMSGC 2 allée Kepler, 77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France), and Jean-Francois Thimus, (Prof., Unité de Génie Civ. et Environnemental, Université Catholique de Louvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique)

Journal of Cold Regions Engineering, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2009, pp. 69-90, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to study the evolution of the ice content of porous media submitted to subzero temperatures by dielectric and ultrasonic measurements. Dielectric measurements are made by a capacitive sensor-based apparatus. The amount of ice formed within the tested sample is estimated from the global dielectric constants of the sample and of all the phases that form the tested composite material. On the other hand, ultrasonic measurements are based on the evolution of the ultrasonic wave velocity through the tested sample during a freezing-thawing cycle. These two methods lead to very close results and appear to be cheaper alternatives to low temperature calorimetry. The ice content curves are analyzed with the help of thermoporometry concepts in order to characterize the pore-size distribution. Results appear to be complementary to mercury intrusion porosimetry ones. Moreover, the commonly observed hysteresis of the ice content during a freezing-thawing cycle is investigated with respect to material microstructure.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Freeze and thaw
Pore size distribution