This paper presents the nanoindentation investigation of the evolution of concrete microstructure modified by the Internal Crystallization Technology mineral powders. The samples under study were retrieved from a fragment of a circular concrete lining of the vertical mine shaft at a depth of approximately 1,000 m. Due to the aggressive environment and exposure to contaminated water, the internal surface of the structure was deteriorated, decreasing its strength significantly. The mineral powders were applied directly on the surface lining. The specimens were investigated one month, three months and one year after the application of the aforementioned substance in order to verify the time dependence of the strengthening processes and durability of the crystalline phase. The microstructural changes of concrete were assessed with the use of nanoindentation technique. The testing procedure involved including the previously cut specimens in the epoxy resin and grinding and polishing in order to reduce the surface roughness. As a result of the nanoindentation tests the hardness as well as Young’s modulus of the material were evaluated. The results were then compared and statistically analyzed. As a consequence, the disintegration time of the crystalline network in the pores of concrete was identified.
The aim of this paper is to present an example of the material microstructure characterization with the use of X-ray micro-CT and nanoindentation measurements. Firstly, the current scope of application of the aforementioned techniques is provided within different fields of science. Then, background of each of the methods is presented. The methodology of X-ray micro-CT is described with the emphasis on the Beer’s law formulation. In addition, the basics of the nanoindentation technique are outlined and major formulas for the hardness and Young’s modulus calculation are given. Finally, example results for a concrete sample are presented. The microstructure of the selected material is firstly characterized in terms of geometry using the results from the microtomograhy measurements, e.g., porosity and attenuation profiles, pore and aggregate size distribution, shape factor of pores, etc. Next, the results of the nanoindentation tests are provided, namely the hardness and Young’s modulus versus the height of the sample. The influence of the number of tests and statistical analysis on the final results is underlined.
The article presents an application of X-ray microtomography for identification of the carbonation zone in concrete material. A concrete specimen subjected earlier to harsh environmental conditions is investigated. The material is firstly checked with the use of chemical corrosion indicators and then is subjected to microstructural analysis performed with the use of X-ray microtomography. Two different settings of scanning parameters are applied implying the image resolutions of approximately 14 μm per 1 pixel and about 7 μm per 1 pixel, respectively. The results obtained are then compared and analyzed. The depth of the carbonation zone is evaluated based on the attenuation curve. The paper highlights also the significance of the corrosion phenomenon in concrete structures. Details of the deterioration mechanisms in concrete are shortly presented.
The needle probe test, as a thermal conductivity measurement method, has become very popular in recent years. In the present study, the efficiency of this methodology, for the case of composite materials, is investigated based on the numerical simulations. The material under study is a two-phase composite with periodic microstructure of “matrix-inclusion” type. Two-scale analysis, incorporating micromechanics approach, is performed. First, the effective thermal conductivity of the composite considered is found by the solution of the appropriate boundary value problem stated for the single unit cell. Next, numerical simulations of the needle probe test are carried out. In this case, two different locations of the measuring sensor are considered. It is shown that the “equivalent” conductivity, derived from the probe test, is strongly affected by the location of the sensor. Moreover, comparing the results obtained for different scales, one can notice that the “equivalent” conductivity cannot be interpreted as the effective one for the composites considered. Hence, a crude approximation of the effective property is proposed based on the volume fractions of constituents and the equivalent conductivities derived from different sensor locations.