Progress in building materials analysis (Part 1)

Summary: In this study two types of microscopes, a FEI XL-30 ESEM-FEG and a FEI Nova NanoSEM 230, were used which are capable of different high-resolution imaging techniques in order to characterize water containing and charging samples. In this field the environmental-SEM (ESEM) – technology in connection with high resolution electron microscopy is especially important, since water vapor can be used as gas in the sample chamber. Thus, water containing structures and phases can be investigated without sophisticated preparation i. e. in their native states. Part 1 of the article summarizes the experimental setup and the optimization measures, such as low voltage SEM. The newly developed NanoSEM combined with Helix detector, cryo-SEM, EDS and EBSD capabilities offers various advantages.

1 Introduction

The properties of cementitious binders such as workability, setting behavior, strength and durability depend directly on the hydration process. In order to understand the relations between material properties and material formation processes one has to understand the multiscale heterogeneous structure which is created. Water does not only play an important role in the hydration process but also with respect to the durability of ce­ment-based and other building materials. Furthermore, water or pore solution are essen­tial components within the microstructure of cementitious...

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