Petrographic Analysis of Concrete

Petrographic analysis is a versatile tool in evaluating the condition of concrete and its composition; it is generally the starting point when examining defects in concrete to fidentify probable cause(s).


Concrete Petrography in All Phases of Construction

In the project planning phase, particularly for capital projects, petrographic analysis is used in conjunction with other standard ASTM tests to identify potentially reactive aggregate which are prone to cause cracks, e.g. alkali-silica reactivity. Such cracks show up several years after construction.

During the construction phase petrographic analysis has been used in many ways to determine recurring defects in the new construction. For example, the causes of recurring low compressive strength, scaling of concrete surfaces and unusual cracks can easily be identified and corrected using petrographic analysis.

In the maintenance phase, concrete petrography forms part of the survey to determine the safety of a structure for present or proposed use. Typically, structural failure/damage and aging infrastructure require professional petrographic evaluations to determine the best method of repair and/or rehabilitation.

Concrete petrography is also used in evaluating:

  • Sulfate Attack
  • Discoloration
  • Piling
  • Acid Attack
  • Corrosion
  • Pipe
  • Fire Damage
  • Masonry
  • Grouts


Standard Practice for Petrographic Examination of Concrete

ASTM C856 is the principal standard for concrete petrography; other related standards are also used. Other methods used in conjunction with C856 include:

  • X-Ray Diffraction
  • Differential Thermal Analysis
  • Thermogravimetric analysis
  • Infrared spectrometry
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Scanning electron microscopy, (SEM)

For petrographic analysis and other specialized consulting services, please call (713) 432-9200 or contact us online.

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