Mineral building materials such as concrete and mortar are necessarily engineered for well-characterized performance defined in terms of parameters such as durability, strength, permeability and drainage properties. These materials are mixtures of cement and various types of aggregates, typically sand or gravel. Choice of cement grade, and the cement to aggregate mix, allows precise manipulation of the properties of the finished construction. Cement manufacturing is a huge tonnage, energy intensive process associated with the release of significant quantities of CO2. Significant efforts are being made to improve the environmental footprint of cement manufacture, and by extension improve the green credentials of cement-based building materials.
Mineral building materials are generally porous and somewhat heterogeneous with engineering properties strongly related to parameters such as porosity - open pore dimensions and pore volume - skeletal and bulk densities. Porosity is generated during the reaction between the cement present, water and CO2 present in the air. The rate of hydration of the cement and the process of solidification can be controlled by manipulating the properties of the raw ingredients added to the mix and using additives.
Micromeritics solutions for mineral building materials include instrumentation for analyzing both the raw materials and finished products, for measuring:
These systems generate the data needed to:
- Elucidate and control the impact of particle size on cement hydration rate
- Quantify the internal structure of final products to rationalize and control engineering performance
- Investigate permeability to support assessments of the suitability of different products for specific applications.