Petrographic tests for aggregates and concrete

We use a microscope so that we can better understand your aggregates and concrete. Beton’s principal staff has decades of experience specifying and interpreting concrete petrography for preventing, assessing and solving problems.

At Beton, we use concrete petrography in order to help us evaluate your materials and diagnose the problem.

Mary Vancura at optical microscope
Photo credit: Tim Davis, bond analysis

Our petrographic services include:

Petrographic services - thin section evaluation
Photo credit: Tim Davis, Concrete cores being prepared for thin section evaluation

Under the microscope

Sometimes, the problem you need help with requires just petrography. Other times, concrete petrography is a tool we’ll combine as necessary with other tests so we can solve your problem.

We also use our microscopes to assess mortar, characterize aggregate, and examine concrete. Some of our capabilities include:

  • ASTM C856, Standard Practice for Petrographic Examination of Hardened Concrete, is a highly informative test of concrete. It helps us identify potential causes of failure such as alkali silica reaction (ASR), sulfate attack, and acid attack. It also helps us assess the overall quality of the concrete. Because it tells us so many different things, it’s our go-to test for concrete failure analysis. If we need to, we’ll supplement it with other tests and observations so we can get a complete picture of the problem.
  • ASTM C457, Standard Test Method for Microscopical Determination of Parameters of the Air-Void System in Hardened Concrete, helps us assess the concrete’s potential durability with respect to freezing and thawing. That’s important because if the concrete surface has scaled, we need to know whether the problem goes all the way through or is just “skin deep.”
  • ASTM C295, Standard Guide for Petrographic Examination of Aggregates for Concrete, is one tool we use for evaluating the aggregates for potential performance in concrete. It may flag potential problems, and if need be we’ll do additional testing to check for them.
  • ASTM C1324, Standard Test Method for Examination and Analysis of Hardened Masonry Mortar, helps us with everything from matching a historic mortar to troubleshooting a masonry problem to designing a tuckpointing mortar compatible with the original material. That is, this test is essential for any tuckpointing or restoration project.