Frost damage to concrete is a serious problem that has been intensively studied for decades, yet the mechanisms are not clearly understood. Salt scaling seems to result when a crack in a layer of ice penetrates slightly into the concrete and removes a chip. The phenomenology of scaling, including the effect of solute concentration, air entrainment, temperature cycle, and thickness of the ice layer can all be explained using this model. Internal frost damage is more complicated, because several mechanisms may be involved. By examining the way that ice nucleates and propagates in the pores, it is possible to evaluate the relative importance of factors such as crystallization pressure, hydraulic pressure, ice wedging, and trapping.

(George W. Scherer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in 1972 and his
Ph.D. in materials science in 1974, all from MIT. He worked in basic
research at Corning Glass Works from 1974 to 1985, and at DuPont from
1985 through 1995. He has received several honors from ACerS, including
the Morey Award (1985), the Purdy Award (1986), the Fulrath Pacific
Award (1990), the Sosman Award (1994) and the Brunauer Award (2001,
2002, 2007). He is a Fellow of The American Ceramic Society and a
member of the Materials Research Society. In 1997 he was elected to the
National Academy of Engineering. In 1996, he became a full professor in
the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Princeton
University, and a member of the Princeton Materials Institute. His
research involves mechanisms of deterioration of concrete and stone,
particularly by crystallization of ice and salts in the pores)

Credit: ACerS