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Quantitative Imaging of Clinker and Cement Microstructure



Paul E. Stutzman, Jeffrey W. Bullard, Pan Feng


The combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with X-ray microanalysis and image processing provides a powerful ability to image and quantify microstructural features of con- struction materials. This document provides guidance for collecting backscattered electron images and X-ray element maps of polished sections of Portland cement clinker. It furnishes step-by-step procedures for processing image data to produce segmentation of an image field into its constituent mineral phases, and describes ways use the segmented image to measure the abundance, surface area, and spatial distribution of phases in the image field. Inherent heterogeneity of the microstructure implies that different image fields of the same material will contain different phase abundances; the document suggests ways to estimate and com- pensate for the heterogeneity length scale through statistical analysis of multiple image fields. and analysis using a scanning electron microscope will be illustrated using an example from the development of Standard Reference Materials for portland cement clinker.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1877
Report Number


scanning electron microscopy, portland cement, microstructure, image processing


Stutzman, P. , Bullard, J. and Feng, P. (2015), Quantitative Imaging of Clinker and Cement Microstructure, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created April 15, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018