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Direct Three-Dimensional Observation of the Microstructure and Chemistry of C3S Hydration



Qinang Hu, Mohammed Aboustait, Taehwan Kim, Tyler Ley, Jay C. Hanan, Jeffrey W. Bullard, Robert Winarski, Volker Rose


While portland cement has been widely studied for over 100 years, there are still widespread disagreements on the mechanisms of hydration. One reason for this is that direct observation of the change in microstructure and chemistry are challenging for many experimental techniques. This paper presents results from synchrotron nano X-ray tomography and fluorescence imaging. The data show unprecedented direct observations of small collections of C3S particles before and after different periods of hydration in 15 mmol/L lime solution. X-ray absorption contrast is used to make three dimensional maps of the changes of these materials with time. The chemical compositions of hydration products are then identified with X-ray fluorescence mapping and scanning electron microscopy. These experiments are used to provide insight into the rate and morphology of the microstructure formation.
Cement and Concrete Research


tricalcium silicate, hydration, microstructure, nano-tomography, nano-fluorescence


Hu, Q. , Aboustait, M. , Kim, T. , Ley, T. , Hanan, J. , Bullard, J. , Winarski, R. and Rose, V. (2016), Direct Three-Dimensional Observation of the Microstructure and Chemistry of C3S Hydration, Cement and Concrete Research, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created July 13, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021