Effect of heterogeneity on the quantitative determination of trace elements in concrete

Weritz, Friederike; Schaurich, Dieter; Taffe, Alexander; Wilsch, Gerd
June 2006
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Jun2006, Vol. 385 Issue 2, p248
Academic Journal
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy has been used for quantitative measurement of trace elements, e.g. sulfur and chlorine, in concrete. Chloride and sulfate ions have a large effect on the durability of concrete structures, and quantitative measurement is important for condition assessment and quality assurance. Concrete is a highly heterogeneous material in composition and grain-size distribution, i.e. the spatial distribution of elements. Calibration plots were determined by use of laboratory-made reference samples consisting of pressings of cement powder, hydrated cement, cement mortar, and concrete, in which the heterogeneity of the material is increasing because of the aggregates. Coarse aggregate and cement paste are distinguishable by the intensity of the Ca spectral lines. More advanced evaluation is necessary to account for the effect of the fine aggregate. The three series of reference samples enable systematic study of the effects of heterogeneity on spectral intensity, signal fluctuation, uncertainty, and limits of detection. Spatially resolved measurements and many spectra enable statistical evaluation of the data. The heterogeneity has an effect on measurement of the sulfur and chlorine content, because both occur mainly in the cement matrix. Critical chloride concentrations are approximately 0.04% ( m/ m). The chlorine spectral line at 837.6 nm is evaluated. The natural sulfur content of concrete is approximately 0.1% ( m/ m). The spectral line at 921.3 nm is evaluated. One future application may be simultaneous determination of the amount of damaging trace elements and the cement content of the concrete.


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