One-dimensional scanning of moisture in heated porous building materials with NMR

G.H.A. van der Heijden, H.P. Huinink, L. Pel, K. Kopinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present a new dedicated NMR setup which is capable of measuring one-dimensional moisture profiles in heated porous materials. The setup, which is placed in the bore of a 1.5 T whole-body scanner, is capable of reaching temperatures up to 500 °C. Moisture and temperature profiles can be measured quasi simultaneously with a typical time resolution of 2–5 min.
A methodology is introduced for correcting temperature effects on NMR measurements at these elevated temperatures. The corrections are based on the Curie law for paramagnetism and the observed temperature dependence of the relaxation mechanisms occurring in porous materials. Both these corrections are used to obtain a moisture content profile from the raw NMR signal profile.
To illustrate the methodology, a one-sided heating experiment of concrete with a moisture content in equilibrium with 97% RH is presented. This kind of heating experiment is of particular interest in the research on fire spalling of concrete, since it directly reveals the moisture and heat transport occurring inside the concrete. The obtained moisture profiles reveal a moisture peak building up behind the boiling front, resulting in a saturated layer. To our knowledge the direct proof of the formation of a moisture peak and subsequent moisture clogging has not been reported before.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • MRI
  • Non-isothermal
  • Moisture transport
  • Concrete


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