Salts in masonry can cause various problems as decay of the masonry itself, lost adhesion of plaster and hygroscopic moisture. Chlorides are among the most common building salts and the present paper is focused on removal of chlorides from a brick in an applied electric field as a step towards developing an electrochemical desalination method for brick masonry. Experiments were conducted in laboratory scale with one type of bricks that were contaminated with either NaCl or KCl through submersion in salt solutions prior to application of current. It was seen that NaCl was slower supplied to the brick during submersion and slower removed in the applied electric field than KCl. This indicates that the removal rate of chloride depends on the associated cation and this must be taken into account when desiding the duration of full scale actions. The electrochemical desalination was very efficient and 99% removal of chloride was obtained. The final concentration in the brick after treatment was less than 10 mg Cl/kg and this concentration is unproblematic. When low salt concentrations were reached during the electrochemical treatment, electroosmotic dewatering of the brick started, showing that electroosmotic dewatering occurs at low ionic concentrations.
Materials and Structures, 2009, Vol 42, Issue 7, p. 961-971