Many factors affect the performance and long-term durability of concrete. Determining the contribution from each of these factors poses a challenge for the engineer. Petrographic analysis can help the engineer gain a better understanding of the underlying cause(s) of a failure.

Petrography, used in conjunction with field inspection, chemical analysis, and physical testing, can solve problems such as:
  • Deterioration
  • Cracking
  • Scaling or spalling
  • Popouts
  • Curling and shrinkage
  • Staining
  • Excessive surface wear
  • Low strength
Among the common causes of concrete failure readily identified by petrographic analysis are:
  • Alkali-silica reaction (ASR)
  • Sulfate attack
  • Efflorescence
  • Chemical attack
  • Carbonation
  • Freeze-thaw damage
  • Fire damage
  • Corrosion of reinforcement
  • Contaminated aggregates
  • Contaminated cementitious materials
  • Mix proportions
  • Placement and finishing practices
  • Water-cement ratio
  • Air void content