Previous: Results-Image Processing Techniques
The use of X-ray microtomography to investigate the three-dimensional microstructure of a cement mortar has been demonstrated. For our study, resolution of order 10 micrometers was sufficient to visualize the main features of a mortar. At higher resolutions other features in the mortar, such as the interfacial zone microstructure at the sand grain/cement paste may become more apparent. Limits to the size of sample studied depends on the resolution needed. Since the CCD used in the data collection had 512 pixels accross, the resolution is W/512 where W is the sample width. Studying larger samples will therefore sacrifice resolution.
Future research includes the studying the size and spacing between sand grains or air voids, the ingress of materials into mortar, the interfacial zone, the flocculation structure of cement grains, fracture, and computation of stress fields and elastic moduli. With realistic three-dimensional images of mortar available it should be possible to better understand transport properties and degradation processes in mortars and concrete.