Fact: rising damp does exist.

This myth originates from the superficial observation of some not understanding some of the extremely complex underlying molecular phenomena, as well as the inability of some to re-create rising damp satisfactorily in a lab.

As a result, they have given up on the whole thing and have taken the easy way out saying "it doesn't exist".

Rising Damp Mechanism

Rising damp is a combination of vapour and liquid transport mechanisms due to the co-existence of liquid and vapour phases inside the capillaries.

Overall, more than 10 molecular phenomena contribute to the development of rising damp (but there are probably a lot more), including:

  • Vapour diffusion (gas)
  • Monolayer adsorption (gas)
  • Multilayer adsorption (gas)
  • Capillary condensation (gas-liquid)
  • Non-saturated capillary flow (liquid)
  • Saturated capillary flow (liquid)
  • Capillary osmosis (liquid-solid)
  • Electro-osmosis (liquid-solid)
  • Streaming potential (liquid-solid)
  • Diffusionphoresis (liquid solid)
  • Evaporation (liquid-gas)

Scientific References

An easy and simple way to search for scientific data is using Researchgate.net, a professional network for scientists and researchers. It is a research portal containing over 118 million scientific articles and research papers from 15 million researchers worldwide from every field of science. The site also has a social media element, allowing researchers all over the world to interact, discuss and share their research.

Here are some relevant phrases you can search ResearchGate for rising damp, and a casual search will reveal the abundance of references about it:

Just browse through some of the search results and you will get an idea whether rising damp exists or not.