Sulfate attack monitored by microCT and EDXRD: Influence of cement type, water-to-cement ratio, and aggregate

N. N. Naik, A. C. Jupe, Stuart R Stock, A. P. Wilkinson, P. L. Lee, K. E. Kurtis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


X-ray microtomography (microCT) and spatially resolved energy dispersive X-ray diffraction (EDXRD) were used in combination to non-destructively monitor the physical and chemical manifestations of damage in Portland cement paste samples subjected to severe sodium sulfate attack. Additional measurements of expansion and compressive strength were made on complementary mortar and cement paste specimens. Specifically, the influences of cement type (ASTM Types I and V), water-to-cement ratio (0.485 and 0.435), and the presence of aggregate on the rate and forms of damage were examined. As expected, Type V cement samples exhibited less cracking and expansion than the Type I cement samples. EDXRD indicated an anticorrelation between ettringite and gypsum in the near-surface region for Type V samples, which may be associated with crack formation. An unanticipated result for Type I cement pastes was that cracking was apparent at earlier exposure times and progressed more rapidly for samples with w / c of 0.435, than for those with w / c of 0.485. Possible mechanisms for this behavior are proposed. The presence of aggregate particles resulted in a more rapid rate of cracking, as compared to the corresponding cement paste sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-159
Number of pages16
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Concrete
  • Diffraction
  • Durability
  • Ettringite
  • Expansion
  • Gypsum
  • Tomography
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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