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An In-Situ X-Ray Microtomography Study of Split Cylinder Fracture in Cement-Based Materials

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In an effort to quantify microstructure-property relationships, three dimensional imaging experiments were conducted on small cylinder specimens subjected to split cylinder fracture. 3-D images were made using synchrotron-based x-ray microtomography, and the experiments were conducted with an in-situ frame such that a specimen could be examined while under load at varying degrees of damage. The specimens were made of fine-grained portland cement mortar and 0.5 mm glass beads, which served as aggregates. The diameter of the specimens was 5 mm. 3-D image analysis routines were developed or adapted to characterize microstructure and internal damage, which could then be related to bulk splitting strength and fracture energy. For fracture energy calculation, crack surface area could be measured in a way that accounted for roughness, branching, and fragmentation. Results showed that, for the specimens tested, aggregate surface roughness had little effect on strength but significant effect on fracture energy. Split cylinder strength showed correlation with specimen porosity, although there was considerable scatter. Strength did not correlate with maximum flaw size, although flaw location was not evaluated.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of a collaborative grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (0625030 and 0625593). Additionally, portions of this work were performed at the DuPont-Northwestern-Dow Collaborative Access Team (DND-CAT) located at Sector 5 of the Advanced Photon Source (APS). DND-CAT is supported by E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., The Dow Chemical Company and the State of Illinois. Use of the APS was supported by the U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. An additional acknowledgement goes to Dr. Denis Keane, DND-CAT director, for his assistance at the beamline. Undergraduate research assistants Katie Dumas, Katrina Martin, and Lauren Flanders also contributed to the data analysis work.

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Correspondence to E. N. Landis.

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de Wolski, S.C., Bolander, J.E. & Landis, E.N. An In-Situ X-Ray Microtomography Study of Split Cylinder Fracture in Cement-Based Materials. Exp Mech 54, 1227–1235 (2014).

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