Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31324
Electrical Effects during the Wetting-Drying Cycle of Porous Brickwork: Electrical Aspects of Rising Damp

Authors: Sandor Levai, Valentin Juhasz, Miklos Gasz


Rising damp is an extremely complex phenomenon that is of great practical interest to the field of building conservation due to the irreversible damages it can make to old and historic structures. The electrical effects occurring in damp masonry have been scarcely researched and are a largely unknown aspect of rising damp. Present paper describes the typical electrical patterns occurring in porous brickwork during a wetting and drying cycle. It has been found that in contrast with dry masonry, where electrical phenomena are virtually non-existent, damp masonry exhibits a wide array of electrical effects. Long-term real-time measurements performed in the lab on small-scale brick structures, using an array of embedded micro-sensors, revealed significant voltage, current, capacitance and resistance variations which can be linked to the movement of moisture inside porous materials. The same measurements performed on actual old buildings revealed a similar behaviour, the electrical effects being more significant in areas of the brickwork affected by rising damp. Understanding these electrical phenomena contributes to a better understanding of the driving mechanisms of rising damp, potentially opening new avenues of dealing with it in a less invasive manner.

Keywords: brick masonry, electrical phenomena in damp brickwork, porous building materials, rising damp, spontaneous electrical potential, wetting-drying cycle

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 0


[1] Hall C, Hoff WD (2007) Rising damp: Capillary rise dynamics in walls. Proc R Soc A Math Phys Eng Sci 463:1871–1884.
[2] Charlaix E, Ciccotti M (2009) Capillary Condensation in Confined Media
[3] Giaccone D, Santamaria U, Corradi M (2020) An Experimental Study on the Effect of Water on Historic Brickwork Masonry. Heritage 3:29–46.
[4] Franzoni E (2014) Rising damp removal from historical masonries: A still open challenge. Constr Build Mater 54:123–136.
[5] Desarnaud J, Bonn D, Shahidzadeh N (2016) The Pressure induced by salt crystallization in confinement. Sci Rep 6:23–26.
[6] Gentilini C, Franzoni E, Bandini S, Nobile L (2012) Effect of salt crystallisation on the shear behaviour of masonry walls: An experimental study. Constr Build Mater 37:181–189.
[7] Franzoni E, Bandini S, Graziani G (2014) Rising moisture, salts and electrokinetic effects in ancient masonries: From laboratory testing to on-site monitoring. J Cult Herit 15:112–120.
[8] Franzoni E, Bandini S (2012) Spontaneous electrical effects in masonry affected by capillary water rise: The role of salts. Constr Build Mater 35:642–646.
[9] Stone HA, Stroock AD, Ajdari A (2004) Engineering flows in small devices: Microfluidics toward a lab-on-a-chip. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 36:381–411.
[10] Jain M, Yeung A, Nandakumar K (2009) Induced charge electro osmotic mixer: Obstacle shape optimization. Biomicrofluidics 3:.
[11] Shavlov A V., Dzhumandzhi VA, Yakovenko AA (2018) Charge of water droplets during evaporation and condensation. J Aerosol Sci 123:17–26.
[12] Mondal PK, Ghosh U, Bandopadhyay A, et al (2014) Pulsating Electric Field Modulated Contact Line Dynamics of Immiscible Binary Systems in Narrow Confinements under Electrical Double Layer Phenomenon. Royal Society of Chemistry
[13] Feng H, Chang H, Zhong X, Wong TN (2020) Recent advancement in induced-charge electrokinetic phenomena and their micro- and nano-fluidic applications. Adv Colloid Interface Sci 280:102159.
[14] Squires TM, Bazant MZ (2004) Induced Charge Electro-Osmosis: Theory and Microfluidic Applications
[15] Helman DS (2013) Earth electricity: A review of mechanisms which cause telluric currents in the lithosphere. Ann Geophys 56:.
[16] Kozyreva O, Pilipenko V, Krasnoperov R, et al (2019) Fine structure of substorm and geomagnetically induced currents. Ann Geophys 62:.
[17] Keh HJ, Hsu LY (2009) Diffusioosmotic flow of electrolyte solutions in fibrous porous media at arbitrary zeta potential and double-layer thickness. Microfluid Nanofluidics 7:773–781.
[18] Gorthi SR, Mondal PK, Biswas G, Sahu KC (2020) Electro‐capillary filling in a microchannel under the influence of magnetic and electric fields. Can J Chem Eng cjce.23876.
[19] Wang Q, Xie H, Hu Z, Liu C (2019) The impact of the electric field on surface condensation of water vapor: Insight from molecular dynamics simulation. Nanomaterials 9:.