The annual concrete consumption of two tons for every U.S. citizen makes it the most widely used construction material. Preserving this large concrete infrastructure requires an understanding of the deterioration and failure processes. Concrete exhibits composite behavior at several length scales (millimeter, micron, and submicron). in conjunction with this complex micro structure, damage processes such as crack formation and void collapse occurs at these various length scales. The diverse length scales combined with the large dimensions (meters) of concrete systems necessitates examination of macroscopic areas/volumes at microscopic magnifications to characterize damaged structures. This translates into examining large specimens, capturing a large number of images, and performing analysis on each image. Automating the image capture and image analysis greatly reduces the labor in evaluating damaged concrete structures.
Automated specimen positioning and image capture from an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM, ElectroScan 2020) and automated image analysis (Noesis Visilog 5.3 image analysis software) were synthesized with statistical and stereo logical principles into a comprehensive system for quantitative micro structural investigation of concrete.