Advanced Nanoscale Characterization of Cement Based Materials Using X-Ray Synchrotron Radiation: A Review

Sejung R. Chae, Juhyuk Moon, Seyoon Yoon, Sungchul Bae, Pierre Levitz, Robert Winarski, Paulo J. M. Monteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We report various synchrotron radiation laboratory based techniques used to characterize cement based materials in nanometer scale. High resolution X-ray transmission imaging combined with a rotational axis allows for rendering of samples in three dimensions revealing volumetric details. Scanning transmission X-ray microscope combines high spatial resolution imaging with high spectral resolution of the incident beam to reveal X-ray absorption near edge structure variations in the material nanostructure. Microdiffraction scans the surface of a sample to map its high order reflection or crystallographic variations with a micron-sized incident beam. High pressure X-ray diffraction measures compressibility of pure phase materials. Unique results of studies using the above tools are discussed-a study of pores, connectivity, and morphology of a 2,000 year old concrete using nanotomography; detection of localized and varying silicate chain depolymerization in Al-substituted tobermorite, and quantification of monosulfate distribution in tricalcium aluminate hydration using scanning transmission X-ray microscopy; detection and mapping of hydration products in high volume fly ash paste using microdiffraction; and determination of mechanical properties of various AFm phases using high pressure X-ray diffraction. © 2013 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-110
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 22 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-11-004021
Acknowledgements: This publication is based on studies supported in part by Award No. KUS-11-004021, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Grant 60NANB10D014. We thank Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) for the allocation of beamtime at the soft X-ray microscope at Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft fur Synchrotronstrahlung (BESSY); and to Peter Guttmann and Katja Henzler for their scientific support at the HZB-U41/1-TXM beamline. Use of the hard X-ray nanotomography beamline at the Center for Nanoscale Materials was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The data for STXM (beamlines and, microdiffraction (beamline 12.3.2), and HPXRD (beamline 12.2.2) were acquired at the Advanced Light Source, supported by the Director of the Office of Science, Department of Energy, under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. We thank David A. Kilcoyne, Tolek Tyliszczak, Martin Kunz, Nobumichi Tamura, and Simon Clark for their scientific support at the Advanced Light Source. We are grateful for Marie D. Jackson and the Romacons drilling project in collaboration with CTG Italcementi in Bergamo, Italy, for the procurement and preparation of the ancient Roman harbor concrete samples. Finally, we thank Kang Su Kim for his valuable discussions during the production of this paper.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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