DOI: 10.1111/jmi.13278 ISSN: 0022-2720

Cements and concretes materials characterisation using machine‐learning‐based reconstruction and 3D quantitative mineralogy via X‐ray microscopy

Ria L. Mitchell, Andy Holwell, Giacomo Torelli, John Provis, Kajanan Selvaranjan, Dan Geddes, Antonia Yorkshire, Sarah Kearney
  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


3D imaging via X‐ray microscopy (XRM), a form of tomography, is revolutionising materials characterisation. Nondestructive imaging to classify grains, particles, interfaces and pores at various scales is imperative for our understanding of the composition, structure, and failure of building materials. Various workflows now exist to maximise data collection and to push the boundaries of what has been achieved before, either from singular instruments, software or combinations through multimodal correlative microscopy. An evolving area on interest is the XRM data acquisition and data processing workflow; of particular importance is the improvement of the data acquisition process of samples that are challenging to image, usually because of their size, density (atomic number) and/or the resolution they need to be imaged at. Modern advances include deep/machine learning and AI resolutions for this problem, which address artefact detection during data reconstruction, provide advanced denoising, improved quantification of features, upscaling of data/images, and increased throughput, with the goal to enhance segmentation and visualisation during postprocessing leading to better characterisation of samples. Here, we apply three AI and machine‐learning‐based reconstruction approaches to cements and concretes to assist with image improvement, faster throughput of samples, upscaling of data, and quantitative phase identification in 3D. We show that by applying advanced machine learning reconstruction approaches, it is possible to (i) vastly improve the scan quality and increase throughput of ‘thick’ cores of cements/concretes through enhanced contrast and denoising using DeepRecon Pro, (ii) upscale data to larger fields of view using DeepScout and (iii) use quantitative automated mineralogy to spatially characterise and quantify the mineralogical/phase components in 3D using Mineralogic 3D. These approaches significantly improve the quality of collected XRM data, resolve features not previously accessible, and streamline scanning and reconstruction processes for greater throughput.

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