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Microscopical Examination of Building Materials
with Inorganic Binders

by Laura Powers from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

FRIDAY, February 24, 2017

To be held at

McCrone Research Institute
2820 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

6:00 PM: Mexican food & sides ~ Tariff: $15.00 (if eating)
Contact Freddie Smith for Reservations / Cancellations at 312-842-7100 or Freddie@mcri.org by Noon THURSDAY, February 23, 2017

7:00 PM: Presentation
Building materials with inorganic binders include common substances such as concrete, mortar, stucco, plaster, brick, adobe, and other heterogeneous materials that harden due to hydration reactions of the binder, air-drying, or kiln-firing. For more than 100 years microscopy has been used to investigate the composition and performance of these building materials and their constituents. This work has given engineers and architects a better understanding of the strengths and limitations of the materials they specify and has helped to show how these materials can fail. This talk will focus on the kinds of useful information that can be obtained from microscopical examination and how that information is used more broadly by engineers, architects, and others.

Bio Sketch: Laura Powers is an associate principal and petrographer at the corporate laboratory of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. in Northbrook, Illinois. She has almost 30 years of experience investigating building materials from diverse structures around the world. Her work typically focuses on assessing causes of distress using petrographic microscopy and SEM/EDS. She routinely integrates with the results of these analyses with other types of analysis and engineering investigations. She has published widely and spoken to many organizations on investigations ranging from assessing the performance of historic concrete to the feasibility of local-source utilization for making concrete for infrastructure on the moon and Mars. She earned her BSc from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and MSc from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. She is a life member of the State Microscopical Society of Illinois and an active member of numerous professional organizations such as ASTM, Mineralogical Society of America, and American Concrete Institute.

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