, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 989-993
Date: 03 Oct 2006

Microstructural features of a mortar as seen by computed microtomography

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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.