On some microstructural aspects of concrete deterioration
Keywords:concrete durability, microstructure, electron microscopy, alkali-aggregate reaction, delayed ettringite formation, hiqh-temperature curinq, freezinq and thawinq
There are numerous mechanisms that can lead to deterioration of portland-cement concrete in service. The best known are corrosion of reinforcement, freezing-thawing expansion, alkali-silica reaction, acid attack, and sulfate-related problems, including delayed ettringite formation. Additionally, concrete can deteriorate as a consequence of improper processing, including curing. Often, several of the above mechanisms of deterioration are jointly responsible for the observed damage. This paper briefly reviews the light-optical and electronoptical microscopic methods available to study some of the causes of concrete deterioration, and briefly describes selected case studies. Specifically, microstructural features resulting from physical (e.g., freezing-thawing) and chemical (e.g., alkali-silica reaction, delayed ettringite formation) deterioration of concrete are highlighted. Corrosion of reinforcement is not discussed.
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