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Contributions of NIST/NBS Researchers to the Crystallography of Construction Materials.

pdf icon Contributions of NIST/NBS Researchers to the Crystallography of Construction Materials. (1090 K)
Stutzman, P. E.

Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Vol. 106, No. 6, 1051-1061, November/December 2001.

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construction materials; cements; cement clinker; durability; performance evaluation; materials science; stone


For more than 100 years, the primary theme underlying the NBS/NIST staff contribution to the crystallography of building materials has been the development of an improved understanding of concrete materials performance. Over that time period, portland cement concrete has become one of the most important of our construction materials for roads, buildings, and other large municipal structures. At the beginning of the 20th century our understanding of portland cement composition, performance, use in concrete, and how the concrete performs in harsh environments was lacking. The efforts of NIST have served to advance construction materials science and technology through the combined efforts of experimental, field study, and theoretical computational materials science. One major achievement in the late 1920s, derived from studies on phase equilibria in cement clinker, allows calculation of potential cement clinker composition. Known as the Bogue calculation, this continues to be an essential tool in cement plant process control to this day. Additionally, contributions of NIST scientists to our knowledge of the chemistry and nature of cement hydration products have been crucial in our understanding of cement hydration and concrete durability. Today, computational materials science is a rapidly developing discipline, and NIST is developing tools incorporating predictive models aided by empirical studies. Examples include a computer-integrated knowledge system for prediction and optimization of performance and life-cycle cost of high performance concrete and the Virtual Cement and Concrete Testing Laboratory. Understanding the relationships between material and performance properties has not been confined only to portland cements. One of the longest running experiments at NIST, the stone test wall, has stood for over 50 years as one of the world's largest single collections of building stone, and is invaluable for studying weathering effects associated with stone mineralogy and texture. Standards development has also been promoted through participation on ASTM subcommittees on stone, cement, and concrete. The Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory, established in 1929, continues to provide testing and training for outside laboratories and maintains a historical record of test data on construction materials.