WIT Press

Multi-technique Investigation Of Calcium Hydroxide Crystals At The Concrete Surface


Free (open access)

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15 - 26




1,534 kb


E. Gueit, E. Darque-Ceretti, P. Tintillier & M. Horgnies


The durability and aesthetic qualities of high-performance concrete, which makes it particularly suitable for architectural applications, are constantly compromised by environmental aggressions. In this study, an innovative solution was developed to protect the concrete from these aggressions, which consists of growing a mineral coating on the concrete surface. The coating is composed of layered calcium hydroxide crystals, whose nucleation and growth are triggered byvarious non-ionic surfactants (the details of the process will not be presented). This paper describes the procedure used to investigate the structure of the formed crystals. Scanning Electron Microscopy and optical microtopography were used to determine the morphology of the crystals. Image analysis allowed the quantification of their amount, size and shape. The contribution and limits of each technique are discussed. Keywords: concrete, scanning electron microscopy, image analysis, optical microtopography, surface. 1 Introduction The mechanical and aesthetic durability of concrete is often compromised by the constant environmental aggressions to which the structures are exposed (organic or inorganic particles, algae, micro-organisms, staining from various sources). It is possible to protect concrete from these attacks and increase its durability by applying organic coatings on the hardened surface, but this comes with operational and environmental costs.


concrete, scanning electron microscopy, image analysis, optical microtopography, surface