Capillarity in Concrete and Wood

One moisture transport mechanism that is often overlooked in building construction is capillarity or capillary suction.  Capillary suction acts primarily to move moisture into porous materials.  For example, a paper towel, with one end in contact with liquid water, draws water into itself against the force of gravity as a result of capillary suction.  

Capillarity is a function of - among other things - pore size and available moisture.  If pore size in a material is large, such as clear gravel and coarse sand, then capillarity will not exist.  If pore size in a material is small, such as in concrete, silty clay, and paper, then capillarity is possible.

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