Microstructural Analysis of Failure in Building Materials

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Author(s) A. K. Al-Tamimi | F. Abed | R. Al-Himairee
Pages 1027-1031
Volume 2
Issue 6
Date June, 2012
Keywords SEM, Lime Mortar, Microstructure, Steel, Micro-Voids, Image Processing.


Scanning Electron Microscopy “SEM” provide valuable tools to identify microstructural differences in materials due to ageing, aggressive environmental exposures and loading. Image processing technique has been applied on several SEM micrographs to provide information on the extent of damage in the surfaces of the microstructure; it measures the area of micro-voids on the surface. Analysis has shown that lime mortar materials were the main building materials used in many heritage buildings due to the ease of production and application. However due to long exposure the lime mortar develop failure in the mode of cracks, crumbling and erosion of the materials. Steel sections were also deteriorated due to environmental exposure combined with loading. Therefore, to understand how various materials degraded with time, it is important to analyze the microstructural changes supplemented with measurement of the area of damages in the form of micro-voids. SEM micrographs revealed loose microstructures in damaged lime mortar materials and uniform and dense microstructures in protected and durable materials. The void fraction of the damaged steel section due to load and exposure was found to be 0.0003.

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