Characterization of 3D microstructure, thermal conductivity, and heat flow of cement-based foam using imaging technique


This study presents the results of the 3D microstructure, thermal conductivity, and heat flow in cement-based foams and examines their changes with a range of densities. Images were captured using X-ray micro computed tomography (micro-CT) imaging technique on cement-based foam samples prepared with densities of 400, 600, and 800 kg/m3. These images were later simulated and quantified using 3D data visualization and analysis software. Based on the analysis, the pore volume of 11000 µm3 was determined across the three densities, leading to optimal results. However, distinct pore diameters of 15 µm for 800 kg/m3, and 20 µm for 600 and 400 kg/m3 were found to be optimum. Most of the pores were spherical, with only 10% appearing elongated or fractured. In addition, a difference of 15% was observed between the 2D and 3D porosity results. Moreover, a difference of 5% was noticed between the experimentally measured thermal conductivity and the numerically predicted value and this variation was constant across the three cast densities. The 3D model showed that heat flows through the cement paste solids and with an increase in porosity this flow reduces.

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The authors thank the NED University of Engineering and Technology for providing the simulation facilities. We also thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council NSERC-Canada for providing funding.

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Correspondence to Farnaz Batool.

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Batool, F., Khan, M.S. & Bindiganavile, V. Characterization of 3D microstructure, thermal conductivity, and heat flow of cement-based foam using imaging technique. Front. Struct. Civ. Eng. 15, 643–651 (2021).

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  • 3D pore volume distribution
  • X-ray tomography
  • 3D shape factor
  • heat flow