Application of petrographic image analysis for the assessment of chemical attack in the concrete segments of a tunnel

Document Type : Research Note


1 Concrete Technology and Durability Research Center (CTDRc), Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The current paper discusses the petrographic image analysis performed on core specimens that are extracted from a tunnel in the south west of Iran. During tunnel excavation, damages were observed in the inner sections of concrete segments. Due to field observations of damaged segments, environmental parameters and tunnel location, several damage scenarios were proposed. In order to assess damage mechanisms, 69 cores were extracted and a number of standard tests were carried out. Since chemical attacks alter microscopic properties of materials, petrographic image analysis was performed on five of the specimens to evaluate possible microscopic changes in concrete composition. The results show that petrographic image analysis is an efficient method to provide a profound insight into the effects of chemical attacks on concrete members.


Main Subjects

1. Ivica-ladim, R. and Adolf, A.A. "Acidic attack of cement ased materials- a review. Part 1: Principle of acidic attack", Construction and Building Materials, 15(8), pp. 331-340 (2001).
2. Ghafoori, N., Diawara, H., and Beasley, S.H. "Resistance to external sodium sulfate attack for earlyopening- to-traffic Portland cement concrete", Cement and Concrete Composites, 30(5), pp. 444-454 (2008).
3. El-Hachem, R., Roziere, E., Grondin, F., and Loukili, A. "New procedure to investigate external sulphate attack on cementitious materials", Cement and Concrete Composites, 34(3), pp. 357-364 (2012).
4. Nelia, C., Bjrn, E., Sorensen, M., and Broekmans, A.T.M. "Quantitative assessment of alkali-reactive aggregate mineral content through XRD using polished sections as a supplementary tool to RILEM AAR-1 (petrographic method)", Cement and Concrete Research, 42(11), pp. 1428-1437 (2012).
5. Chatterji, S., Thaulow, N., and Jensen, A.D. "Studies of alkali-silica reaction. Part 5: Verification of a newly proposed reaction mechanism", Cement and Concrete Research, 19(2) pp. 177-183 (1989).
6. Lukschova, S., Prikryl, R., and Pertold, Z. "Petrographic identification of alkali-silica reactive aggregates in concrete from 20th century bridges", Construction and Building Materials, 23(2), pp. 734-741 (2009).
7. Fernandes, I. "Composition of alkali-silica reaction products at different locations within concrete structures", Materials Characterization, 60(7), pp. 655-668 (2009).
8. Ingham, P.J. "Application of petrographic examination techniques to the assessment of fire-damaged concrete and masonry structures", Materials Characterization, 60(7), pp. 700-709 (2009).
9. St'astna, A., Sachlova, S., Pertold, Z., Prikryl, R., and Leichmann, J. "Cathodoluminescence microscopy and petrographic image analysis of aggregates in concrete pavements affected by alkali-silica reaction", Materials Characterization, 65, pp. 115-125 (2012).
10. Larsen, G. "Petrographic method used in the study of leaching of cement paste in concrete", Engineering Geology, 1(3), pp. 189-199 (1966).
11. Sutter, L., Peterson, K., Touton, S., VanDam, T. and Johnston, D. "Petrographic evidence of calcium oxychloride formation in mortars exposed to magnesium chloride solution", Cement and Concrete Research, 36(8), pp. 1533-1541 (2006).
12. Marfil, S.A. and Maiza, P.J. "Deteriorated pavements due to the alkali-silica reaction: A petrographic study of three cases in Argentina", Cement and Concrete Research, 31(7), pp. 1017-1021 (2001).
13. Patrice, R., Fournier, B., and Ballivy, G. "Quantitative petrographic technique for concrete damage due to ASR: experimental and application", Cement, Concrete and Aggregates, 22(1), pp. 63-72 (2000).
14. Rivard, P., Fournier, B., and Ballivy, G. "The damage rating index method for ASR affected concrete: a critical review of petrographic features of deterioration and evaluation criteria", Cement, Concrete and Aggregates, 24(2), pp. 81-91 (2002)
15. Ramyar, K. and Inan, G. "Sodium sulfate attack on plain and blended cements", Building and Environment, 42(3), pp. 1368-1372 (2007).
16. Sadananda, S. and Thaulow, N. "Delayed ettringite formation in Swedish concrete railroad ties", Cement and Concrete Research, 34(9), pp. 1675-1681 (2004).
17. Eden, M.A. "The laboratory investigation of concrete affected by TSA in the UK", Cement and Concrete Composites, 25(8), pp. 847-850 (2003).
18. Sims, I. and Nixon, P. "RILEM recommended test method AAR-1: detection of potential alkali-reactivity of aggregates-petrographic method", Materials and Structures, 36(7), pp. 480-496 (2003).
19. Lindgard, J., Nixon, P.J., Borchers, I., Schouenborg, B., Wigum, B.J., Haugen, M., and Akesson, U. "The EU "PARTNER" project-European standard tests to prevent alkali reactions in aggregates: final results and recommendations", Cement and Concrete Research, 40(4), pp. 611-635 (2010).