A new publication titled “Enabling Phase Quantification of Anhydrous Cements via Raman Imaging” was published in Cement and Concrete Research in September 2021.
Quantifying the mineral phase composition of an anhydrous cement is essential in determine/predicting the hydrated phase assemblage which consequently governs the overall performance of hardened concrete. Traditional techniques such as X-ray diffraction, optical microscopy, and electron microscopy are well suited to quantify phases in anhydrous cements but they may have some sample-specific limitations in certain scenarios. Here, we demonstrate Raman imaging as a complementary tool for quantitative phase analysis on 11 different cements. Using sufficient statistics (250,000 spectra per image, 5×5 mm area scans with 10 μm/pixel in each image), we were able to accurately quantify the 4 principal phases (alite, belite, aluminate, and ferrite) as well as (up to) 8 secondary phases (gypsum, anhydrite, bassanite, syngenite, dolomite, calcite, quartz, and portlandite) in a broad variety of cements. These results pave the way for future application of Raman imaging for phase quantification in other complex mixtures and systems.
This is the second article from our group’s Ph.D. candidate Krishna C. Polavaram. Congratulations Krishna!
The first version of GG-AP ’21 was launched in July 2021 where the group spent a day eating and relaxing outdoors. Participation was free for all group members, however, everyone was required to bring a dish for the potluck in lieu of their registration fee. This resulted in a rather extensive buffet-style feast which lifted everyone’s spirits as shown in Figure 1.
Once the attendees were motivated, they were assembled to execute the real purpose of this picnic: creating some fun memories! The group tried making several creative shots but most of them turned out to be not publishable. One of them, where the group attempts to create an “I” on the ground (reported here as Video 1), survived the editorial cut.
Nevertheless, the group will continue to try to generate new content in the meanwhile and will be back next year, in summer 2022. Thanks for reading and watching.
The announcement was made at the 11th Advances in Cement-Based Materials Conference held virtually last week (June 23-25, 2021). This award is given every year to the author(s) of the best-refereed paper published in the previous calendar year in the Bulletin or the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.
This award honors Dr. Stephen Brunauer (1903-1986), a surface scientist and chemist, who is best known for his BET (Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller) paper on “Adsorption of Gases in Multi-Molecular Layers” published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1938. The BET method is one of the most widely used methods for measuring the specific surface area of porous as well as powdered materials. Dr. Brunauer also made significant contributions to our microstructural understanding of cement hydrates.
A new publication titled “High-fidelity and high-resolution phase mapping of granites via confocal Raman imaging” was published in Scientific Reports in April 2021.
Granites are one of the most abundant silicates on Earth’s crust, and they can often be found in concrete mixtures where siliceous aggregates have been used. Understanding the mineral phase composition of these complex rocks is a key requirement to predict their tolerance to long-term radiation in a nuclear power plant. However, obtaining accurate phase maps from traditional petrographic methods as well as newer elemental mapping methods has a series of limitations. Here, we report a methodology that allows direct mineralogical mapping and fingerprinting using Raman spectroscopy and imaging. Our results enable high-resolution and high-fidelity spatial mapping of minerals at the sub-micron scale, opening up pathways to rapidly assess and quantify the mineralogical composition of samples that require minimal sample preparation.
This is the first article from our group’s Ph.D. candidate Krishna C. Polavaram. Congratulations Krishna!
Garg Group warmly welcomes new set of graduate students who started recently as research assistants in the Spring 2021 semester. They are Ravi Sharma (MS candidate) and Omar Abdelrahman (MS candidate) who joined us in January, 2021.
Group photo in the North Quad of the UIUC campus on a nice afternoon, before heading to the group meeting. (From left to right; Top row: Vikram Kumar, Ravi Sharma, Prof. Garg, Omar Abdelrahman, Pablo R. Contreras; Bottom row: Sonali Srivastava, Krishna C. Polavaram, Hossein Kabir, Faisal Qadri; Missing: Pratyush Kumar)
We’re looking forward to welcome the next set of students arriving this Fall 2021. We expect several openings in the Spring 2022 and/or Fall 2022 semesters, hence applications for the next year are welcome.
Over time, concrete pavements can be subject to cracking and deterioration. One approach to avoid these cracks is to employ a self-healing concrete that can repair on its own. However, several challenges remain before an effective and reliable self-healing concrete system can be deployed in the field.
Garg Group has recently received seed funding from the STII (Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative) which is currently developing the I-ACT (Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track, see video below). We will be working in collaboration with Prof. Ramez Hajj from the Transportation Engineering area within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UIUC.
We are excited to venture into the field of self-healing materials!
Concrete used in bridge decks can often be subject to cracking over the years due to many factors such as (but not limited to) shrinkage, excessive loading, and so on. One way to tackle these cracks is to seal them with polymeric sealants to avoid ingress of harmful (and corrosive) species into the structure. However, such sealants can have a limited lifespan requiring frequent crack-sealing over the bridge’s life.
Garg Group has recently obtained funding to study and characterize these sealants in order to determine optimal and desired properties in these polymeric systems. Additionally, we will explore methods to improve crack-sealing procedures and measure the efficacy of these practices in the field, in partnership with our industrial partner ERI. This research will be conducted with the Illinois Center for Transportation and has been funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
We are excited to venture into the field of crack-sealing and sealants, and work towards a long-lasting and sustainable transportation infrastructure.
Concrete is one of the most ubiquitious construction materials due to the widespread availability of its ingredients and economics associated with its procuring and placement. However, all concrete must undergo curing over several days to achieve desired performance in terms of strength and durability. This conventional practice can add delays to projects where rapid deployment of a structure is desired such as opening of a highway or a bridge to the traffic.
Garg Group has recently obtained funding to study this issue and explore methods by which concrete cure times can be effectively reduced. Significant advances can be made by understanding the cement hydration process and the evolution of porosity over the curing duration. In partnership with Illinois Center for Transportation, the work is funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
We are excited to venture into the field of optimizing and advancing concrete structures present in our nation’s transportation infrastructure.