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NIST Workshop on Cementitious Materials Characterization

Measurement of the chemical composition, phase abundance, and microstructure of cementitious materials is an increasingly important

 prerequisite for mixture design, quality control, and troubleshooting of concrete materials.

This workshop will provide practical information and guidance on performing chemical and phase analyses of portland cement and portland cement clinker materials, including hands-on practice with analyzing real data. The workshop will address number of complementary methods but will focus especially on quantitative X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) and quantitative scanning electron microscsopy (SEM) for characterizing unhydrated materials.


  • Quantitative X-ray Powder Diffraction (QXRD): Theoretical basis, instrumentation, specimen preparation, measurement artifacts and sources of error, internal and external standards, interpretation, and detection limits.
  • Quantitative Scanning Electron Microscopy (QSEM): Theoretical basis, instrumentation, backscattered electron imaging, X-ray microprobe analysis, measurement artifacts and sources of error, image analysis, phase segmentation, advantages and disadvantages compared to QXRD, and microstructure characterization.
  • Practicums on QXRD and QSEM: Participants will receive a complete set of cement-related raw material data sets obtained on portland cement powders, and will be given step-by-step guidance on analyzing the data to quantify the chemical composition and phase abundance using freely available software in the public domain.
  • Principles and Applications of
    • X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)
    • Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
    • Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)

Who Should Attend

The workshop assumes a general familiarity with concrete materials, but no specialized knowledge of materials characterization is required. Engineers, research scientists, and technicians responsible for cementitious materials characterization, quality control, or testing should find this workshop beneficial for their continuing education and professional development.


  • Paul Stutzman, Jeff Bullard, Pan Feng (NIST)
  • Chandni Balachandran, Jose Munoz (SES Group andAssociates, LLC)
  • Coming soon.


    To participate in the practicums, each participant should bring a laptop computer (Windows or Mac) with the following free public domain software packages downloaded and installed prior to the workshop:

    Other software and material data sets will be provided at the workshop. The workshop organizers will contact all registered participants prior to the workshop to ensure that all software has been downloaded and installed.

    Housing, Transportation, and Meals

    Workshop participants are responsible for arranging for their lodging. Several hotels are available nearby NIST, and most of them have shuttle services to and from the NIST campus. An incomplete list of hotels is available here.

    Room Block:
    Holiday Inn - Gaithersburg
    2 Montgomery Village Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD
    Includes Breakfast and Shuttle to and from NIST

    Holiday Inn/NIST/Cementitious Materials Characterization Booking Link
    Book by July 16, 2016

    Participants are responsible for their own meals. Coffee and breakfast food can be purchased at the NIST cafeteria adjacent to the lecture room. The group will have lunch together at the NIST cafeteria each day.

    Security Instructions:
    If you are not registered, you will not be allowed on site. Registered attendees will receive security and campus instructions prior to the workshop.

    NON U.S. CITIZENS PLEASE NOTE: All foreign national visitors who do not have permanent resident status and who wish to register for the above meeting must supply additional information. Failure to provide this information prior to arrival will result, at a minimum, in significant delays (up to 24 hours) in entering the facility. Authority to gather this information is derived from United States Department of Commerce Department Administrative Order (DAO) number 207-12. When registration is open, the required NIST-1260 form will be available as well.

    *New Visitor Access Requirement: Effective July 21, 2014, Under the REAL ID Act of 2005, agencies, including NIST, can only accept a state-issued driver's license or identification card for access to federal facilities if issued by states that are REAL ID compliant or have an extension. Driver's licenses from nine states and territories are not compliant and will not be accepted as identification. Click here for a list of alternative identification and further details>>

    Created January 14, 2016, Updated September 21, 2016