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Petrographic Analysis

Ensuring the integrity of concrete used in support and containment systems is crucial. We evaluate and assess the condition of concrete cores from equipment bases, roads, support columns, cooling towers and containment areas.

Are any flaws present that might reduce the life-expectancy of the concrete? If degradation is present, is it cosmetic or structural in nature? Can the concrete be repaired? What repair materials and procedures should be used? What are the root causes(s) for premature degradation?

In addition to concrete we can also assess mortars, building stone and other geological materials.

Test methods we perform include:

  • Petrographic analysis (ASTM C856)
    A microstructural examination by optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the paste and aggregate on a prepared sample of concrete to look for features such as degree of cement hydration, microcracking, reaction products, breakdown of aggregate and evidence of poor freeze-thaw performance. SEM backscatter images and energy dispersive spectroscopy spectra are recorded to document the appearances and compositions of features of interest. A mineralogical assessment of the aggregate is also performed to determine if appropriate aggregate was used and if it caused any deleterious reactions.
  • Air void analysis (ASTM C457)
    Performed on polished core cross-sections, this analysis provides detailed information about the relative composition and distribution of coarse and fine aggregate, cement paste, entrained and entrapped air.
  • Uranyl-Acetate method (ASTM C856)
    Detection of the presence of detrimental Alkali-Silica Reactions (ASR) may be performed to validate a root cause for premature degradation.
  • FTIR analysis
    Utilized to identify contaminants and verify the composition of binders, epoxies, coatings, and other organic materials.
  • Petrographic analysis of natural stone (BS EN 12407)
    Microscopic examination of macro and micro samples enables rock types to be described according to recognized standards and terminology (BS EN 12670) and defined. From the petrographic examination and knowledge of the origin of the stone, denomination criteria can be assigned (BS EN 12440). Provides an unambiguous definition of the stone.

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