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Structure analysis of cement and concrete materials using X-ray powder diffraction technique

Summer 2008, Volume 24, No. 1
Kunihisa Sugimoto

In order to solve various problems in materials, there are very high demands for crystal structure analysis.  However, most materials used in industries are in powdery or polycrystalline states, and it is often quite hard to obtain single crystals for some materials. Structure analysis from X-ray powder diffraction can be applied not only for crystal structure analysis of a material which is hard to obtain suitable single crystals, but also can be used for structure analysis under special conditions and/or in-situ observations that are difficult for single crystal structure analysis.

In recent years, to overcome the hurdles of structure analysis from X-ray powder diffraction, researchers in universities and X-ray instrument manufactures have developed experimental hardware and application software.  They have improved the performances of hardware such as a reduction of measurement time by increasing the brightness of an X-ray source and enhancing the sensitivity of a detector, and a reduction of calculation time by enhancing the performance of the application software.  Structure analysis from X-ray powder diffraction is now treated as a routine work, where research of powder diffractometry is active. In the beam line ID31 of ESRF that is managed by Prof. Andy Fitch, it is possible to automatically take up to 50 diffraction data of samples sealed in capillaries for structure determination using a special robot sample changer in one night. As a result of the improvements in research environment, the number of reported crystal structure analyses using powder diffractometry has been greatly increased.

In what follows, we would like to show examples of successful complicated crystal structure analysis using powder diffraction technique.


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