Monitoring the Nonlinear Acoustic Behavior of Fresh Cementitious Materials during the Hardening Process Using Laser Doppler Vibrometry
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A challenge in the field of material science and concrete technology is to associate material properties and behavior with changes in internal microstructure. A fundamental issue for planning, implementation, and quality control of construction projects is the fundamental understanding of the hardening process
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A challenge in the field of material science and concrete technology is to associate material properties and behavior with changes in internal microstructure. A fundamental issue for planning, implementation, and quality control of construction projects is the fundamental understanding of the hardening process in freshly poured cement-based materials. Shortly after the mixing process, cementitious materials exhibit a substantial damping effect on ultrasonic wave propagation along with low-pulse velocity. The way a wave reflects and diffuses in the volume of a solid material can provide important information about internal heterogeneities. An important application of the wave propagation technique is the determination of layers within the material distinguished by unlike elastic properties. During the hardening process, the ultrasonic wave propagation exhibits a noticeable sensitivity at the point of phase change of the material, that is, the critical point at which the state of the suspension transforms from liquid to solid state. After that point, there is a continuous increase of pulse velocity and ultrasonic signal amplitude. The solidification point is of practical importance since at this point the load-bearing capacity of the composite material and its long-term behavior are based on the connectivity of the solid phase. This study aims to develop a nondestructive tool to monitor freshly poured cement-paste composites at early stages, during the hydration process, by means of nonlinear elastic waves. The measurement setup combined a contact ultrasonic transducer with a noncontact optical detection system, in which the principle of operation is based on the Doppler effect. This methodology enabled us to assess the amplitudes of harmonic vibrations of an acoustic wave propagating through the material with a specific fundamental frequency. This enabled the evaluation of important material properties, such as minute changes in the internal microstructure of fresh concrete during hardening, the evolution of nonlinearity parameters that relate to higher-order elastic constants of the material, as well as the ultrasonic wave velocity.