Quantification of Morphological Characteristics of Aggregates at Multiple Scales

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Virginia Tech

Properties of aggregates are affected by their morphological characteristics, including shape factors, angularity and texture. These morphological characteristics influence the aggregate's mutual interactions and strengths of bonds between the aggregates and the binder. The interactions between aggregates and bond strengths between the aggregate and the binder are vital to rheological properties, related to workability and friction resistance of mixtures. As a consequence, quantification of the aggregate's morphological characteristics is essential for better quality control and performance improvement of aggregates. With advancement of hardware and software, the computation capability has reached the stage to rapidly quantify morphological characteristics at multiple scales using digital imaging techniques. Various computational algorithms have been developed, including Hough transform, Fourier transform, and wavelet analysis, etc. Among the aforementioned computational algorithms, Fourier transform has been implemented in various areas by representing the original image/signal in the spatial domain as a summation of representing functions of varying magnitudes, frequencies and phases in the frequency domain. This dissertation is dedicated to developing the two-dimensional Fourier transform (FFT2) method using the Fourier Transform Interferometry (FTI) system that is capable to quantify aggregate morphological characteristics at different scales. In this dissertation, FFT2 method is adopted to quantify angularity and texture of aggregates based on surface coordinates acquired from digital images in the FTI system. This is followed by a comprehensive review on prevalent aggregate imaging techniques for the quantification of aggregate morphological characteristics, including the second generation of Aggregate Image Measurement System (AIMS II), University of Illinois Aggregate Image Analyzer (UIAIA), the FTI system, etc. Recommendations are made on the usage of aggregate imaging system in the measurements of morphological parameters that are interested. After that, the influence of parent rock, crushing, and abrasion/polishing on aggregate morphological characteristics are evaluated. Atomic-scale roughness is calculated for crystal structures of five representative minerals in four types of minerals (i.e., α-quartz for quartzite/granite/gravel/aplite, dolomite for dolomite, calcite for limestone, haematite and magnetite for iron ore); roughness ranking at atomic-scale is further compared with surface texture ranking at macroscale based on measurement results using the FTI system and AIMS II. Morphological characteristics of aggregates before and after crushing test and micro-deval test are measured to quantitatively evaluate the influences of the crushing process and the abrasion/polishing process on morphological characteristics of aggregates, respectively.

Morphological Characteristics, Aggregate Image Analysis, Two-dimensional Fourier Transform Method, Atomic-scale Roughness