Rouchier S., Woloszyn M., Foray G., Roux J.-J., Influence of concrete fracture on the rain infiltration and thermal performance of building facades, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 61, 2013, p. 340-352
Water infiltration is known to play an important part in the degradation process of construction materials. Over time, microscopic and macroscopic cracks progressively develop under the effects of mechanical loading and sorption/desorption cycles: their influence is to be accounted for in long-term hygrothermal performance assessments of the building envelope. The present work aims at showing the potential consequences of cracking on the heat and moisture transfer across building facades, in order to justify the need for the identification of damage to prevent durability and thermal issues. Specific simulation cases of insulated and non-insulated building facades were defined, and submitted to atmospheric boundary conditions for simulation times of one month. Some of the simulation geometries included previous measurements of crack patterns in concrete. The comparison of fractured and non-fractured building facades showed the effects of cracks on the moisture accumulation and thermal performance of these wall configurations, thus giving an estimate of what these effects might be in real conditions. A methodology is thus proposed for the identification of renovation needs, which may be applied for the purpose of durability assessments as well.