You are on page 1of 25
A Bridge A Client Concrete Petrographic Report CO1 Example

A Bridge

A Client

Concrete Petrographic Report CO1 Example

Petrolab Limited www.petrolab.co.uk tel +44 (0)1209 219541 email petrolab@petrolab.co.uk

C Edwards Offices, Gweal Pawl, Redruth, Cornwall TR15 3AE Registered in England & Wales · Company No. 4777735

Petrographic Report - Concrete

Contents

A Client

1 Sample details

1

2 Petrographic description – C1

2

2.1 Aggregates

2

2.2 Binder

3

2.3 Voids

4

2.4 Fractures and degradation

4

2.5 Composition - C1

5

3 Petrographic description – C2

6

3.1 Aggregates

6

3.2 Binder

8

4

5

3.3 Voids

10

3.4 Fractures and degradation

11

3.5 Composition - C2

13

Summary

14

4.1 Concrete

C1

14

4.2 Concrete

C2

14

Images

15

5.1 Sample C1

16

5.2 Sample C2

19

A Bridge

CO1 Example

C2 14 Images 15 5.1 Sample C1 16 5.2 Sample C2 19 A Bridge CO1 Example

Issued by Petrolab Ltd

i

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

Petrolab document control

Client

A Client

Report title

A Bridge

Analysis required

Detailed petrographic examination in accordance with ASTM C-856 on two concrete cores.

Client reference

--

Client contact

A Client

Report ID (version)

CO1

Report date

Example

Prepared by

R Garside BA MSci

Checked by

J Strongman Msci ARSM

Limitations

This report relates only to those samples submitted and specimens examined and to any materials properly represented by those samples and specimens. This report is issued to the Client named above for the benefit of the Client for the purposes for which it was prepared. It does not confer or purport to confer on any third party any benefit or right pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

or right pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. A Bridge CO1 Example

Issued by Petrolab Ltd

ii

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

Petrographic methods of investigation for hardened concrete

Preliminary examination

The submitted sample / specimens are examined as received, and after careful washing to remove loose debris, using a Nikon SMZ-U stereomicroscope. The microscope has a continuous zoom range of 7.5x to 75x and it is equipped with a 150W continuous ring, fibre optic illuminator. It is useful for the preliminary examination of materials and it is possible to discriminate and sometimes identify features as small as 100 µm in size. The microscope has a trinocular head and can be used for low power photomicrography. The main purpose of the preliminary examination is to identify the degree of consistency or variability in the submitted sample / specimens and any superficial evidence of deterioration. This facilitates the selection of the most appropriate specimen(s) for a full petrographic examination when multiple specimens of the same concrete type are submitted.

Sample preparation

Following preliminary examination, the selected specimen is cut in half parallel or perpendicular with its axis (to suit the objectives of the investigation). One half of a cut specimen may be carefully ground, finishing with #600 grit carborundum powder. At least one standard petrographic thin section is prepared from each selected specimen. Additional thin sections may be prepared from a large specimen in order to investigate variation in the concrete or to suit the objectives of the investigation. The cut specimen, used for section preparation, is typically vacuum impregnated with a low viscosity epoxy resin containing a yellow fluorescent dye. A high resolution, low magnification digital image of each thin section is prepared using a film scanner. This type of image is useful for illustrating the mesostructure of the concrete.

Microscopic examination

High-power microscopy is undertaken using a Nikon research polarising microscope. The thin section(s) may be examined in both plain and cross-polarised light, and reflected ultraviolet light creating secondary fluorescence. Photomicrographs are taken using a Nikon high resolution digital camera fitted to the trinocular head of the microscope.

Quantitative investigations

Modal analysis to determine the concrete composition is performed using a Pelcon 64 channel electromechanical point counter using stepping and traverse intervals of 0.5 mm. One thousand points are counted from each thin section (provided the area of the sample represented on the thin-section is sufficient). Water-cement ratios for uncarbonated concrete can be estimated by the petrographic comparison of the fluorescent intensity of the paste with that of standard mortars viewed under carefully controlled reflected ultraviolet illumination. An estimated mix design may be calculated for standard Portland-type cement without cement substitutes.

Other testing

In some circumstances, additional (non-petrographic) testing using an appropriate chemical or physical testing procedure may be undertaken by an approved laboratory. When undertaken, the test certificate and the results obtained are provided in an appendix to the main body of the report.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

obtained are provided in an appendix to the main body of the report. A Bridge CO1

Issued by Petrolab Ltd

iii

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

1 Sample details

Two samples of concrete were supplied by A Client on xx/xx/xxxx for petrographic examination. The samples were reported to be from a concrete bridge structure. Sample details, as received, are shown in the table below.

Table 1 · Samples received

C1

Sample reference Core location Core location

C2

Report no.

Type Concrete core, Ø100 mm Concrete core, Ø100 mm

The investigation requested was a detailed petrographic description and quantitative modal analysis, to assess concrete quality and any evidence of degradation, in particular any evidence or potential for Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR). A thin section was made parallel to the core axis in the area of the core which showed the greatest evidence of degradation, or, when there was no immediately evident damage, the base of the core as this would be most likely to show the presence of ASR.

Two types of concrete were identified. Petrographic observations are recorded in the tables below with additional explanatory text beneath. A summary of the concrete type(s) is provided followed by annotated images of the samples.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

type(s) is provided followed by annotated images of the samples. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 1 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

2 Petrographic description – C1

2.1

Aggregates

Table 2 · Aggregate details

 

Type

crushed aggregate and natural sand

 

Coarse aggregate

crushed limestone

 

Abundance

47.4%

Major components

bioclastic limestone

 

Minor components

calcareous shell fragments

Size range

3 mm

to

20 mm

Average

10 mm

Grading

good

Rounding

angular – sub-angular

angular morphologies predominate

Shape

mainly equant

 

Sphericity

low

Fine aggregate

beach sand

 

Abundance

22.1%

Major components

vein quartz, calcareous shell fragments

 

Minor components

limestone, ferruginous sandstone, stable silicate minerals (plagioclase feldspar, K- feldspar, pyroxene), altered basalt, iron oxides, calcite, chert, zircon, glauconite, volcanic glass

Size range

50 µm

to

1 mm

Average

300 µm

Grading

good

Rounding

sub-angular - rounded

sub-rounded morphologies predominate

Shape

mainly equant

 

Sphericity

moderate

Percentage passing 600 µm

80 (visual estimate)

 

Sample

Aggregate microfractures

Secondary alkali-silica gel

 

C1

none seen

none seen

The coarse aggregate is a crushed limestone and the fine aggregate is a beach sand. Both aggregates are generally considered stable. The fine aggregate contains a minor amount of chert and volcanic glass (2.7 % of the aggregate total, modal analysis) which are considered potential alkali-silica reactive components 1 . However the aggregate in this sample shows no evidence of alkali-silica gel development or associated radial microfracturing.

There is no evidence of any other aggregate instability or reaction between aggregate and the binder.

1 The Diagnosis of Alkali-Silica Reaction, Report of a working party. Appendix D. British Cement Association, 1992. Where rocks or mineral types are noted as 'reactive', it does not necessarily imply that damage has been caused by ASR when these have been used.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

that damage has been caused by ASR when these have been used. A Bridge CO1 Example

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 2 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

2.2

Binder

The binder is Portland-type cement, probably OPC. The sample appears to be completely uncarbonated except for trace patchy carbonation in the surface 10 mm of the concrete.

The optical properties of the uncarbonated paste are summarised in the table below.

Table 3 · Uncarbonated binder

 

Cement type

Portland-type Cement (probably OPC)

Modal volume

29.8%

Replacement

local ettringite replacement

Optical properties of least altered paste

 

Colour

dark brown to pale fawn

Isotropy

weakly anisotropic

Texture

irregularly mottled

Disseminated calcite

abundant

Dye absorption

variable, moderate to high

Fluorescence

variable, moderate to high

Portlandite

In paste

abundant

Distribution

irregular

Maximum size (µm)

60

Shape

granular and branching anhedral grains

Replacement

calcite (common)

Aggregate margins

common

Distribution

irregular

Maximum size (µm)

80

Shape

monolayers and outgrowths

Replacement

calcite, ettringite (rare)

Cement clinker grains

 

Alite

common

Maximum size (µm)

100

Max. birefringence

not determined

Colour

pale yellow

Hydration

CSH-replaced

Reaction rims

none seen

Belite

rare

Maximum size (µm)

30

Max. birefringence

not determined

Colour

muddy brown

Hydration

CSH-replaced

Reaction rims

diffuse opaque rims

Ferrite

present

Maximum size (µm)

50

Alteration

strongly oxidised

Colour

dark red-brown - opaque

Clinker grain clusters

Alite

common

Maximum size (µm)

200

Matrix

dark brown glassy phase, granular iron oxide

Hydration

completely hydrated

Reaction rims

none seen

Belite

rare

Maximum size (µm)

150

Matrix

sparse, medium brown glassy phase

Hydration

strongly hydrated

Reaction rims

diffuse opaque rims

Alite + belite

none seen

The mineralogy and texture of the uncarbonated paste are characteristic of Portland Cement concrete made at a moderate water/cement ratio (≥ 0.45). The uncarbonated binder shows evidence of minor local ettringite replacement.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

binder shows evidence of minor local ettringite replacement. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 3 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

2.3 Voids

The main features of the air void system are summarised below.

Table 4 · Voids

Void system

Modal volume

0.7%

Shape

spherical – irregular

Size range

100 µm

to

5 mm

Average size

500 µm

Interconnectivity

generally isolated

 

Secondary minerals

 

ettringite

present

 

Alteration at void walls

local ettringite replacement

There are traces of ettringite in voids and the surrounding binder, particularly in areas of slightly higher porosity, however there is no evidence of significant sulphate attack.

2.4 Fractures and degradation

Table 5 · Fractures

Anastomosing microcracks

Abundance

none seen

Peripheral fissures Abundance

rare

Distribution Maximum aperture Secondary minerals Mineral 1 Mineral 2 Mineral 3

at margins of aggregate fragments, no specific lithologies

60 µm

Average aperture

35 µm

granular calcite

Abundance

rare

portlandite

Abundance

present

ettringite

Abundance

present

Alteration at crack walls

local ettringite replacement

Fractures related to degradation

 

Abundance

none seen

Peripheral fissures may form as a result of aggregate shrinkage and as a result of dissolution or ettringite replacement of portlandite outgrowths and monolayers.

The samples show no evidence of microfracturing related to sulphate replacement of the binder or other aggregate-related degradation.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

of the binder or other aggregate-related degradation. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page:

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 4 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

2.5 Composition - C1

The volumetric composition of the concrete was determined by modal analysis. One thousand points were counted from the thin section.

Sample

C1

Coarse aggregate

47.4%

Fine aggregate

22.1%

Binder

29.8%

Voids

0.7%

Water-cement ratio was estimated by comparing the fluorescent intensity of the paste under high intensity reflected ultraviolet illumination with that of standard mortars. A range of values between 0.4 and 0.5 were obtained. A preferred water-cement ratio of 0.45 has been used to estimate the mix design.

Table 6 · Estimated (theoretical) mix design

 

Component

Volume

Density

Estimated mix design

w/c

%

(kgm 3 )

0.45

Coarse aggregate

47.4

2650

Coarse aggregate

1256

kgm 3

Sand aggregate

22.1

2650

Sand aggregate

586

kgm 3

Binder

29.8

3120

Cement

387

kgm 3

Voids

0.7

Water

174

kgm 3

Total

100.0

 

Density

2403

kgm 3

Fluorescent intensity

0.4-0.5

Slump without plasticiser

30-60 mm

Preferred water/cement ratio

0.45

28-day strength

51.7

MPa

Maximum aggregate size, mm

20

crushed

Calculated cement content 16.1

%

The estimate assumes that no air entrainment agent or plasticiser is present.

 

NOTE: It must be emphasised that the estimation of concrete mix design by petrographic methods is subject to many potential errors. It should not be used as a substitute for appropriate and approved methods of chemical analysis and physical testing.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

and approved methods of chemical analysis and physical testing. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 5 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

3 Petrographic description – C2

3.1

Aggregates

Table 7 · Aggregate details

 

Type

crushed aggregate and natural sand

 

Coarse aggregate

crushed limestone

Abundance

53.0%

Major components

bioclastic limestone, carbonaceous limestone (silicified limestone?)

Minor components

greywacke, sandstone

 

Size range

2 mm

to

20 mm

Average

10 mm

Grading

good

Rounding

angular – sub-angular

angular morphologies predominate

Shape

mainly equant

Sphericity

low

Fine aggregate

beach sand

Abundance

18.7%

Major components

vein quartz, calcareous shell fragments

 

Minor components

limestone, ferruginous sandstone, stable silicate minerals (plagioclase feldspar, K- feldspar, pyroxene), altered basalt, iron oxides, calcite, chert, zircon, glauconite, volcanic glass

Size range

50 µm

to

1 mm

Average

300 µm

Grading

good

Rounding

sub-angular - rounded

sub-rounded morphologies predominate

Shape

mainly equant

Sphericity

moderate

Percentage passing 600 µm

80 (visual estimate)

Sample

Aggregate microfractures

Secondary alkali-silica gel

 

C2

common - generally gel-filled, iron oxide filled near base of sample

common, sometimes carbonated

The coarse aggregate is a crushed limestone and the fine aggregate is a beach sand. The fine aggregate contains a minor amount of chert and volcanic glass (2.5 % of the aggregate total, modal analysis) and the coarse aggregate contains a minor amount of greywacke (< 5 % of the aggregate total, visual estimate). These are considered potential alkali-silica reactive components 1 but show no evidence of initiating ASR in the thin section.

In this sample < 20 % coarse aggregate (visual estimate) shows evidence of internal fracturing and the development of pervasive cracking and alkali-silica gel formation. The binder around these aggregate fragments also shows significant gel replacement, in patches Ø < 2 mm.

In this sample the coarse aggregate most commonly associated with fracturing and surrounding gel-filled binder is the carbonaceous limestone. This aggregate type is not typically considered a high risk ASR aggregate, as ASR is usually attributed to the presence of microcrystalline or highly strained quartz. Although the limestone does not appear to be obviously silicified in thin section, it does contain small strained and finely

1 The Diagnosis of Alkali-Silica Reaction, Report of a working party. Appendix D. British Cement Association, 1992. Where rocks or mineral types are noted as 'reactive', it does not necessarily imply that damage has been caused by ASR when these have been used.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

that damage has been caused by ASR when these have been used. A Bridge CO1 Example

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 6 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

crystalline quartz grains and the abundant opaque carbonaceous material may also contain microcrystalline silica which is not distinguishable under the microscope. The aggregate fragments are harder than typical limestone which would also suggest that they have been silicified.

Silicified limestone is not widely considered a high risk aggregate and only a small number of cases of reaction with this aggregate have been reported in the UK. It is possible that some unusual environmental conditions, such as high alkali cement, may have caused the aggregate to react.

There is no evidence of any other aggregate instability or reaction between aggregate and the binder.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

instability or reaction between aggregate and the binder. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 7 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

3.2

Binder

The binder is Portland-type cement, probably OPC. The core is completely uncarbonated except for a strong carbonation layer around some fractures and patchy carbonation of alkali-silica gel.

The optical properties of the uncarbonated paste are summarised in the table below.

Table 8 · Uncarbonated binder

 

Cement type

Portland-type Cement (probably OPC)

Modal volume

27.7%

Replacement

local ettringite, alkali-silica gel, iron oxide

 

Optical properties of least altered paste

 

Colour

pale fawn to dark brown

Isotropy

weakly anisotropic

Texture

irregularly mottled

Disseminated calcite

abundant

Dye absorption

variable, moderate to high

Fluorescence

variable, moderate to high

Portlandite

In paste

abundant

Distribution

irregular

Maximum size (µm)

50

Shape

granular and branching anhedral grains

Replacement

calcite (common)

Aggregate margins

common

Distribution

irregular

Maximum size (µm)

110

Shape

tabular crystals and outgrowths

Replacement

calcite, ettringite (rare)

Cement clinker grains

 

Alite

common

Maximum size (µm)

100

Max. birefringence

not determined

Colour

pale yellow

Hydration

CSH-replaced

Reaction rims

none seen

Belite

rare

Maximum size (µm)

40

Max. birefringence

not determined

Colour

muddy brown

Hydration

CSH-replaced

Reaction rims

diffuse opaque rims

Ferrite

present

Maximum size (µm)

75

Alteration

strongly oxidised

Colour

dark red-brown - opaque

Clinker grain clusters

Alite

common

Maximum size (µm)

100

Matrix

dark brown glassy phase, granular iron oxide

Hydration

completely hydrated

Reaction rims

none seen

Belite

rare

Maximum size (µm)

140

Matrix

sparse, medium brown glassy phase

Hydration

strongly hydrated

Reaction rims

diffuse opaque rims

Alite + belite

rare

Maximum size (µm)

165

Matrix

medium brown glassy phase, granular iron oxide

Hydration

strongly hydrated

Reaction rims

diffuse opaque rims

The mineralogy and texture of the uncarbonated paste are characteristic of Portland Cement concrete made at a moderate water-cement ratio (≥ 0.5). The uncarbonated

A Bridge

CO1 Example

at a moderate water-cement ratio (≥ 0.5). The uncarbonated A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 8 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

binder shows evidence of minor local ettringite replacement. It also shows evidence of patchy alkali-silica gel replacement around aggregate fragments and iron oxide replacement at the base of the core, presumably in proximity to corroded reinforcement.

The main features of the carbonated paste are summarised below.

Table 9 · Carbonated binder

 

Transition zones

Carbonation fronts

sharp, irregular

 

Width of transition zone

100 µm – 300 µm

Replacement sequence

1

portlandite

2

paste

3

cement clinker grains

Fine-grained paste

Abundance

present

Distribution

around microcracks and areas of carbonated gel

Size range

< 1 µm

to

5 µm

Texture

uniform, compact

 

Relict clinker grains

present

Residual gel

present

Granular iron oxide

present

Maximum size

50 µm

Maximum size

50 µm

Microporosity

low

Pore size

5 µm

To

25 µm

Secondary minerals

ettringite, alkali-silica gel

 

Coarse-grained paste

 

Abundance

present

Distribution

patches next to corroded reinforcement

Size range

5 µm

to

25 µm

Texture

microgranular

 

Relict clinker grains

present (alite)

 

Residual gel

present

Granular iron oxide

present

Maximum size

100 µm

Maximum size

100 µm

Microporosity

high locally

 

Pore size

5 µm

to

50 µm

Secondary minerals

ettringite, iron oxides

 

Snowflake calcite

none seen

 

The carbonated paste around gel-associated fractures is mainly fine-grained and strongly recrystallised. The texture is typical of natural atmospheric carbonation along high porosity zones. Carbonated paste around the iron oxide filled binder is coarse grained, suggesting that fractures penetrating down to the reinforcement have acted as pathways for leaching in addition to facilitating corrosion of the steel.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

for leaching in addition to facilitating corrosion of the steel. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 9 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

3.3

Voids

The main features of the air void system are summarised below.

Table 10 · Voids

Void system

Modal volume

0.6%

Shape

Average size

spherical – irregular 500 µm

Size range

50 µm

to

5 mm

Interconnectivity

locally highly connected

 

Secondary minerals Voids in uncarbonated paste ettringite portlandite alkali-silica gel iron oxides

rare

Voids in carbonated paste granular calcite ettringite alkali-silica gel

rare

rare

rare

rare

rare

rare

Alteration at void walls

local ettringite or alkali-silica gel replacement

 

There are traces of ettringite in voids and the surrounding binder, particularly in areas of slightly higher porosity, however there is no evidence of significant sulphate attack. Voids around the edge of gel filled binder or fractures show evidence of gel linings and voids next to the iron oxide filled binder also contain iron oxides.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

next to the iron oxide filled binder also contain iron oxides. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 10 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

3.4 Fractures and degradation

Table 11 · Fractures

Anastomosing microcracks

 

Abundance

none seen

Peripheral fissures Abundance

rare

Distribution

around coarse aggregate fragments, no specific lithologies

 

Maximum aperture

30 µ m

Average aperture

15 µm

Secondary minerals

Mineral 1

ettringite

Abundance

present

Mineral 2

portlandite

Abundance

present

Mineral 3

alkali-silica gel

Abundance

rare

Mineral 4

iron oxides

Abundance

rare

Mineral 5

granular calcite

Abundance

rare

Alteration at crack walls ettringite, iron oxide binder replacement

Fractures related to degradation

 

Abundance

common

Distribution

Type 1 – throughout core sample, no specific orientation Type 2 – at base of sample, generally sub-parallel to surface

 

Maximum aperture

1 – 1.2 mm; 2 – 100 µm

Average aperture

1 – 200 µm; 2 - 25 µm

Crack walls

usually closely matching in binder and aggregate, occasionally non-matching in carbonaceous limestone aggregate cracks commonly run through and possibly propagate in carbonaceous limestone aggregate fragments

Cracks in aggregate

Secondary minerals

Mineral 1

ettringite

Abundance

common

Mineral 2

alkali-silica gel

Abundance

common

Mineral 3

iron oxides

Abundance

common

Mineral 4

granular calcite

Abundance

present

Alteration at crack walls ettringite, alkali-silica gel, iron oxide binder replacement

 

Peripheral fissures may form as a result of aggregate shrinkage and as a result of dissolution or ettringite replacement of portlandite outgrowths and monolayers.

Fractures related to development of alkali-silica gels mostly propagate into the thin section from outside the area, though there are a few microfractures which appear to originate in carbonaceous limestone fragments. These discontinuous fractures permeate into the surrounding paste approximately perpendicular to the aggregate surface and can be traced for up to at least 20 mm. Fractures in the binder generally have matching walls with discontinuous linings of alkali-silica gel and/or lining of fibrous ettringite. Maximum fracture apertures are < 1.2 mm but are typically 200 µm in width. The gel in the majority of fractures is uncarbonated, except for the wider fractures and areas with gel replacing the binder. It appears to be at least partly contemporaneous with the ettringite, since it both overgrows ettringite in fractures and has ettringite forming on its surface.

The most likely cause of the ASR development is due to the concrete being continuously wet which allows the alkalinity of the pore fluid to increase to a point where

A Bridge

CO1 Example

the alkalinity of the pore fluid to increase to a point where A Bridge CO1 Example

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 11 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

any microcrystalline and/or highly strained quartz reacts. The presence of sulphate replacement in the uncarbonated binder is further evidence that the concrete has been wet for prolonged periods. The presence of carbonated gel and evidence that ASR fracturing has caused reinforcement corrosion suggests that some of the gel is relatively old. However, it is not possible to determine whether alkali-silica reaction in the concrete has ceased or is ongoing.

Observations of the core sample show evidence of corrosion and associated expansion of steel reinforcement at the base. This has produced multiple radiating surface-parallel microfractures which are iron oxide-filled and there is local iron oxide impregnation of the binder (< 3 mm from sample base). The cause of corrosion is due to air ingress and subsequent carbonation. The process is a classic feedback system: as the steel becomes more corroded it expands further creating more fractures which penetrate to the surface allowing further air ingress and corrosion.

The core sample provided is almost completely uncarbonated and the concrete is extremely dense. It is considered unlikely that surface carbonation has penetrated to the depth of the reinforcement and, therefore there must have been an initial fracture mechanism to create a pathway to the reinforcement. From the evidence of carbonated alkali-silica gels in fractures it seems likely that the initial fracturing was caused by ASR.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

it seems likely that the initial fracturing was caused by ASR. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 12 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

3.5 Composition - C2

The volumetric composition of the concrete was determined by modal analysis. One thousand points were counted from the thin section. The concrete appears to be slightly unevenly mixed as there are patches of high cement content with abundant unhydrated clinker and other areas with a higher water content.

Sample

C2

Coarse aggregate

53.0%

Fine aggregate

18.7%

Binder

27.7%

Voids

0.6%

Water-cement ratio was estimated by comparing the fluorescent intensity of the paste under high intensity reflected ultraviolet illumination with that of standard mortars. A range of values between 0.45 and 0.55 were obtained. A preferred water-cement ratio of 0.5 has been used to estimate the mix design.

Table 12 · Estimated (theoretical) mix design

 

Component

Volume

Density

Estimated mix design

w/c

%

(kgm 3 )

0.5

Coarse aggregate

53.0

2650

Coarse aggregate

1405

kgm 3

Fine aggregate

18.7

2650

Sand aggregate

496

kgm 3

Binder

27.7

3120

Cement

338

kgm 3

Voids

0.6

Water

169

kgm 3

Total

100.0

 

Density

2406

kgm 3

Fluorescent intensity

0.45-0.55

Slump without plasticiser

30-60 mm

Preferred water/cement ratio

0.5

28-day strength

45.5

MPa

Maximum aggregate size, mm

20

crushed

Calculated cement content 14.0

%

The estimate assumes that no air entrainment agent or plasticiser is present

 

NOTE: It must be emphasised that the estimation of concrete mix design by petrographic methods is subject to many potential errors. It should not be used as a substitute for appropriate and approved methods of chemical analysis and physical testing.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

and approved methods of chemical analysis and physical testing. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 13 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

4

Summary

4.1 Concrete C1

1. One core sample of concrete was investigated to assess concrete quality and any evidence of degradation. A thin section was prepared parallel with the long axis of the core from an area near the base of the sample provided.

2. The cement appears to be Ordinary Portland Cement; there is no petrographic evidence of any admixtures or air entrainment.

3. The estimated mix design appears to be within normal limits.

4. The coarse aggregate is composed of crushed limestone.

5. The fine aggregate is a beach sand.

6. Chert and volcanic glass make up circa 2.7 % of the total aggregate (modal analysis). Chert and volcanic glass are considered potentially alkali–silica reactive components. However, chert and glass in this sample show no evidence of alkali-silica reaction and/or fracturing.

7. There is no evidence of any other aggregate instability or aggregate binder reaction in the sample.

8. The sample appears to be completely uncarbonated except for trace patchy carbonation in the surface 10 mm of the concrete.

9. Carbonation of the concrete is not a problem in itself as it does not significantly alter the strength of the concrete. However, it is a potentially serious problem if the carbonation penetrates to the depth of steel reinforcement, where it may facilitate corrosion and associated expansion of the steel.

10. No reinforcement was observed in this sample.

11. There are traces of secondary sulphates in some voids and peripheral microfractures and the surrounding binder, particularly in areas of slightly higher porosity, however there is no evidence of significant sulphate attack.

12. The sample shows no evidence of microfracturing related to sulphate replacement of the binder or other aggregate-related degradation.

13. The concrete in this sample shows no evidence of macroscopic fracturing relating to degradation and appears to be currently sound.

4.2 Concrete C2

1. One core sample of concrete was investigated to assess concrete quality and any evidence of degradation. A thin section was prepared parallel with the long axis of the core from an area which appeared to show the most evidence of degradation.

2. The cement appears to be Ordinary Portland Cement; there is no petrographic evidence of any admixtures or air entrainment.

3. The estimated mix design appears to be within normal limits.

4. The coarse aggregate is composed of crushed limestone.

5. The fine aggregate is a beach sand.

6. The fine aggregate contains a minor amount of chert and volcanic glass (circa 2.5 % of the aggregate total, modal analysis) and the coarse aggregate contains a minor amount

Chert, volcanic glass and

greywacke are considered potentially alkali–silica reactive components. However, in this

sample these components show no evidence of alkali-silica reaction and/or fracturing.

of greywacke (< 5 % of the aggregate total, visual estimate).

A Bridge

CO1 Example

greywacke (< 5 % of the aggregate total, visual estimate). A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 14 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

7. Carbonaceous limestone aggregate fragments shows evidence of internal fracturing and the development of radial cracking and alkali silica gels. Although limestone aggregates are generally considered to be of low reactivity, there have been some cases where silicification of limestones has been identified as the source of deleterious ASR. Silicified limestone is not widely considered a high risk aggregate and only a small number of cases of reaction with this aggregate have been reported in the UK. It is possible that some unusual environmental conditions, such as high alkali cement, may have caused the aggregate to react.

8. Fractures related to development of alkali-silica gels in the sample show patchy distribution through the core sample. The microfractures typically contain discontinuous linings and fills of alkali-silica gel and fibrous ettringite, with gel usually overgrowing the sulphates (though in some places sulphate also overgrows gel). The binder around some carbonaceous aggregate samples also shows significant gel replacement, in patches Ø < 2 mm.

9. The most likely cause of the ASR development is due to the concrete being continuously wet which allows the alkalinity of the pore fluid to increase to a point where any microcrystalline and/or highly strained quartz reacts. The presence of sulphate replacement in the uncarbonated binder is further evidence that the concrete has been wet for prolonged periods. The presence of carbonated gel and evidence that ASR fracturing has caused reinforcement corrosion suggests that some of the gel is relatively old. However, it is not possible to determine whether alkali-silica reaction in the concrete has ceased or is ongoing.

10. There are traces of secondary sulphates, alkali-silica gel linings and iron oxides in some voids, peripheral microfractures and the surrounding binder, particularly in areas of slightly higher porosity, however there is no evidence of significant sulphate attack.

11. The core is completely uncarbonated except for a strong carbonation layer around some fractures and patchy carbonation of alkali-silica gel.

12. Carbonation of the concrete is not a problem in itself as it does not significantly alter the strength of the concrete. However, it is a potentially serious problem if the carbonation penetrates to the depth of steel reinforcement, where it may facilitate corrosion and associated expansion of the steel.

13. Three 2 mm reinforcement bars were observed in the core sample at 35-42 mm depth. These pieces of reinforcement show no evidence of corrosion or microfracturing. The core also contains evidence of steel reinforcement at a depth of 60 mm from the surface. The reinforcement is extremely corroded and shows multiple radiating sub horizontal microfractures, the fractures are iron oxide filled and there is locally strong iron oxide impregnation of the binder.

14. The cause of corrosion is due to air ingress and carbonation. The process has a positive feedback because as the steel becomes more corroded it expands further creating more fractures, thus allowing further air ingress and corrosion of the steel.

15. Due to the evidence of degradation from both ASR and reinforcement corrosion in the sample provided, the concrete and the associated structure requires assessment for damage and ongoing close monitoring. It is recommended that the condition of the concrete in proximity to any reinforcement be ascertained because of the evidence of corrosion observed.

5

Images

Colour images (scanned images and annotated photomicrographs of each sample) begin over-page.

A Bridge

CO1 Example

and annotated photomicrographs of each sample) begin over-page. A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 15 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

5.1 Sample C1

Petrographic Report - Concrete A Client 5.1 Sample C1 Thin section(s) Sample C1 Photograph of sample

Thin section(s)

Report - Concrete A Client 5.1 Sample C1 Thin section(s) Sample C1 Photograph of sample as

Sample C1Report - Concrete A Client 5.1 Sample C1 Thin section(s) Photograph of sample as received (scale

Photograph of sample as received (scale in cm).

Image A Fuji S3 Pro digital camera Daylight balanced oblique light

Sample C1A Fuji S3 Pro digital camera Daylight balanced oblique light Low magnification view of sample thin

Low magnification view of sample thin section. (Orientation arrow points towards drilling surface.)

Image B Epson scanner White cold cathode light

A Bridge

CO1 Example

surface.) Image B Epson scanner White cold cathode light A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 16 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

Photomicrographs

shell limestone void quartz shell 500 µm
shell
limestone
void
quartz
shell
500 µm
shell limestone void quartz shell 500 µm
shell
limestone
void
quartz
shell
500 µm

Sample C1500 µm shell limestone void quartz shell 500 µm A Client General view of sample showing

A Client

General view of sample showing all main phases.

Image C Nikon Microphot-FXA petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light

x40

Sample C1microscope Plane polarised transmitted light x40 View of image C in cross polarised light. Image D

View of image C in cross polarised light.

Image D Nikon Microphot-FXA petrological microscope Cross polarised transmitted light

x40

A Bridge

CO1 Example

petrological microscope Cross polarised transmitted light x40 A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page:

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 17 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

void ettringite ettringite 100 µm
void
ettringite
ettringite
100 µm
E
E

Sample C1

A Client

Image showing minor ettringite in voids.

Image E Nikon Microphot-FXA petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light

x200

A Bridge

CO1 Example

petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light x200 A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page:

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 18 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

A Client

5.2 Sample C2

Petrographic Report - Concrete A Client 5.2 Sample C2 Thin section(s) Sample C2 Photograph of sample

Thin section(s)

Report - Concrete A Client 5.2 Sample C2 Thin section(s) Sample C2 Photograph of sample as

Sample C2Report - Concrete A Client 5.2 Sample C2 Thin section(s) Photograph of sample as received (scale

Photograph of sample as received (scale in cm).

Image A Fuji S3 Pro digital camera Daylight balanced oblique light

Sample C2A Fuji S3 Pro digital camera Daylight balanced oblique light Low magnification view of sample thin

Low magnification view of sample thin section. (Orientation arrow points towards drilling surface.)

Image B Epson scanner White cold cathode light

A Bridge

CO1 Example

surface.) Image B Epson scanner White cold cathode light A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 19 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

Photomicrographs

iron oxides limestone microfracture quartz iron oxides 500 µm
iron oxides
limestone
microfracture
quartz
iron oxides
500 µm
gel quartz carbonaceous limestone 250 µm
gel
quartz
carbonaceous
limestone
250 µm

Sample C2500 µm gel quartz carbonaceous limestone 250 µm A Client Image showing corrosion induced microfracturing and

A Client

Image showing corrosion induced microfracturing and iron oxide impregnation of binder at the base of the core.

Image C Nikon Microphot-FXA petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light

x40

Sample C2microscope Plane polarised transmitted light x40 Image showing an area of alkali-silica gel completely

Image showing an area of alkali-silica gel completely replacing the binder around carbonaceous limestone aggregate.

Image D Nikon Microphot-FXA petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light

x100

A Bridge

CO1 Example

petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light x100 A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page:

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 20 of 21

Petrographic Report - Concrete

gel gel microfracture gel ettringite 100 µm
gel
gel
microfracture
gel
ettringite
100 µm
E
E

Sample C2

A Client

Image showing alkali silica gel and ettringite within microfractures. An area of gel replacing the binder is also visible.

Image E Nikon Microphot-FXA petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light

x200

A Bridge

CO1 Example

petrological microscope Plane polarised transmitted light x200 A Bridge CO1 Example Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page:

Issued by Petrolab Ltd Page: 21 of 21