A finite element solution for a mass transport model for porous materials accounting for sorption hysteresis is presented in this paper. The model is prepared for modeling of concrete durability, but the general presentation makes it suitable for other porous materials like soil and tissues. The model is an extended version of the Poisson–Nernst–Planck (PNP) system of equations. The PNP extension includes a two-phase vapor and liquid model coupled by a sorption hysteresis function and a chemical equilibrium term. The strong and weak solutions for the equation system are shown, and a finite element formulation is established by Galerkin’s method. A single-parameter implicit time integration scheme is used for solving the transient response, and the out-of-balance solution is minimized by using a modified Newton–Raphson scheme in which the tangential stiffness is not computed exactly. The sorption hysteresis is added to the solution procedure by a rate function. The hysteresis effect is described by scanning curves defined between two boundary sorption isotherms. A numerical example was constructed to show the applicability and compare a simple approach and a extended approach within the sorption hysteresis model. The examples illustrate the impact of changing relative humidity at the mass transport boundary on the adsorption and desorption stages of a cement-based material. Changes in the pore solution ion concentrations are a result of the changing moisture content, which are shown by the example. Comparing the two approaches showed significant deviations in the liquid content and ion concentrations, in parts of the domain considered.
Transport in Porous Media, 2015, Vol 107, Issue 1, p. 27-47
Mass transport; Sorption hysteresis; Finite element method; Cement-based materials