Concrete cores were obtained from houses in eastern Connecticut, USA, that had varying degrees of crumbling foundations and wall cracking. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) was used simultaneously with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to investigate the degradation of these samples. This combination allowed the precise correlation of elemental composition with mineral crystallography phase mapping. EBSD examination showed the presence of pyrrhotite, pyrite, and marcasite phases in some of the samples, whereas internal sulfate attack (ISA) is triggered by the release of sulfates through the oxidation of such iron sulfides. Secondary expansion products from ISA are associated with foundation cracking, wall bulging, and drastically decreased structural stability. The main contribution of this study is therefore an automated procedure for preparation of concrete samples and analysis of aggregates using EBSD.


Materials Science and Engineering

Publication Status

Open Access


University of Connecticut, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

degradation; electron backscatter diffraction; internal sulfate attack; pyrrhotite; sample preparation

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1744-7402; 1546-542X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 May 2022