Delayed ettringite formation (DEF) and its effect on freeze-thaw damage in Finnish concrete façades

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The strongest drivers causing delayed ettringite formation (DEF) and its impact as a cause of freeze-thaw damage in Finnish concrete façades is still poorly known as it has been only briefly touched as a part of one dissertation [1] and one master's thesis [2]. The conclusion of both studies was that DEF might slightly accelerate freeze-thaw damage of concrete, but how strongly or how rapidly was not stated. To complement the knowledge on that matter, this article analyses Finnish façade structures built between 1960 and 2003 using large case-study databases, weather history data and statistical methods. As a result, it was found that DEF occurs in more than half of the Finnish concrete façades, but it significantly increases the freeze-thaw damage only when it has spread widely in the pore structure of concrete. Such case has been quite rare, since the amount of widespread DEF covers only 4.4% of all observations. Wind-driven rain (WDR) was found to be one of the most significant drivers for DEF, and if the façades are either completely protected from it or oriented in the direction which are least exposed to WDR, DEF was not observed extensively at all. Façades where no DEF was detected had WDR exposure an average of 1852 mm per year. The facades where DEF was found extensively had 68% more exposure, an average of 3127 mm per year.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106659
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Early online dateMay 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Concrete
  • DEF
  • Durability of concrete
  • Ettringite
  • Freeze-thaw damage
  • Service life

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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