Application of Image Analysis Based on SEM and Chemical Mapping on PC Mortars under Sulfate Attack
The degradation mechanisms of cementitious materials exposed to sulfate solutions have been controversial, despite considerable research. In this paper, two methodologies of image analysis based on scanning electron microscope and chemical mapping are used to analyse Portland cement mortars exposed to sodium sulfate solution. The effects of sulfate concentration in solution and water to cement ratio of mortar, which are considered as the most sensitive factors to sulfate attack, are investigated respectively by comparing the macro expansion with microstructure analysis. It is found that the sulfate concentration in pore solution, expressed as sulfate content in C-S-H, plays a critical role on the supersaturation with respect to ettringite and so on the expansion force generated.