Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Jason Weiss

Committee Chair

Jason Weiss

Committee Member 1

Pablo Zavattieri

Committee Member 2

Bernard Tao


Experimental results show that soy methyl ester (SME), a derivative of soy bean oil, along with the incorporation of polystyrene (PS) is a non-toxic, biodegradable and renewable material that can be used effectively as a topical concrete surface treatment. While, concrete sealants and topical surface treatments can be used to extend to durability of concrete structures, it is difficult to predict the durability of concrete structures sealed with a sealant or topical surface treatment. This is due to a lack of necessary model inputs that can be used to address the durability of concrete structures treated with these materials. In general, this thesis expands upon previous research in exploring the use of SME-PS blends as a topical treatment used to enhance concrete durability and presents a sound theoretical framework for modeling the durability of concrete structures topically treated with SME-PS using Fick’s 2nd Law of diffusion. Using experimental data generated in this study, fluid transport tests have been carried out to investigate how SME-PS changes fluid absorption and chloride ingress into concrete. The results show that the diffusion of chloride ions into concrete treated with SME-PS can be modeled by using a fractional amount (in this case 60% is recommended) of the value of Cs that is used for conventional concrete when Fick 2 nd Law is used. This is critically important from a design and cost prospective, since tests do not need to be conducted with SME-PS to determine the benefits of surface treatment.