Materials and Structures

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 989–993

Microstructural features of a mortar as seen by computed microtomography

Original Article

DOI: 10.1617/s11527-006-9194-9

Cite this article as:
Diamond, S. & Landis, E. Mater Struct (2007) 40: 989. doi:10.1617/s11527-006-9194-9


While low resolution limits the use of computed microtomography for microstructural investigation, the method has a unique advantage in that no specimen preparation is required; the images produced are thus entirely free of specimen preparation artifacts. In the present communication we report examination of the microstructure of a w:c 0.6 mortar, with the tomographic information resolved on a set of more than 500 successive planar images each 1.2 μm apart. Selected images are compared with backscatter SEM images taken from similar materials at comparable magnifications. The same features are observed, including sand grains, air voids, residual cement grains, hydrated cement paste components, and hollow-shell pores. The “patchy” microstructure of different areas of hardened cement paste, previously reported for mortars and concretes in backscatter SEM, is clearly also present in images derived from computed microtomography, and are not artifacts of SEM specimen preparation.


Computed microtomographyScanning electron microscopyMicrostructureHollow shell grainsMortars

Copyright information

© RILEM has copyright 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of MaineOronoUSA