The Irish Government has recently funded a scheme for compensating home owners with houses constructed with potentially low-durability concrete blocks containing mica-rich aggregates and eligibility for compensation is dependent on demonstrating concrete block deterioration has occurred as a result of high mica levels. Petrographic examination is the principal means by which this can be done on laboratory samples.
The recently published Irish Standard, IS 465, sets out a methodology for the investigation of concrete blocks containing mica and pyrite-bearing aggregates.
Sandberg has developed expertise over many years of working with organisations in Ireland and is UKAS accredited for the procedures specified in IS 465 that include:
- Visual examination and measurement of cement
- Petrographic examination of thin sections for the detailed evaluation of causes of deterioration
- Classification of risk potential for future damage according to IS 465
- Measurement of free mica content by X-ray phase mapping using the scanning electron microscope
- Chemical testing for cement content, total sulfur and acid-soluble sulfate content
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