• P. Shawnim School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU, UK
  • F. Mohammad School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU, UK
Keywords: Foamed concrete, microstructure, permeability, porosity, SEM


This paper examined the foamed concrete (FC) for permeability of total and capillary water absorption, at 28 days of air sealed curing. The microstructure of 15 selected FC specimens was investigated to determine permeability in relation to porosity and density using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images. The FC specimens of the densities (1100, 1600, and 1800) kg/m3 were made using fine sand and brick aggregates with toner and MK inclusion as additives. The microstructural investigation of the FC revealed, porosity measure as a percentage ratio of the area under investigation to be in the range of (39.65 to 77.7) %. The pore size is in the range of (0.01 to 70) µm, depending on the type of additive, for the mixes containing toner and MK, it is in a fine range of (0.01 to 10.0) µm. For the FC specimens, the finer the pore size, the less permeable and the stronger it is. Permeability is porosity and strength dependent, whereby high porosity leads to high permeability and low compressive strength for FC mixes made with sand or brick only with no additive inclusion. Meanwhile, the FC mixes made with the inclusion of additives, such as the toner and MK20 mixes, showed an evenly spread net of independent air voids with a regular shape within their matrix, which is beneficial in decreasing permeability. Therefore, besides the porosity and strength, the fineness of the pore matrix and the shape factor of the pores are two other key factors in controlling permeability. Toner and MK20 inclusion can enhance the capillary water absorption to reach almost water tight. Besides, MK30 and MK50 inclusion displayed adverse effect on permeability. Depending on the type of filler, the additive, and the percentage ratio of the porosity of the FC matrix at (1600 and 1800) kg/m3 densities, it is possible to produce FC with compressive strength between (55.1 and 30) N/mm2.


M. A. O. Mydin and Y. C. Wang, 2011. 'Structural performance of lightweight steel-foamed concrete-steel composite walling system under compression', Thin-Walled Structures, 49(1), 66-76.


E. K. K. Nambiar and K. Ramamurthy, 2007b. Sorption characteristics of foam concrete, Cement and Concrete Research 37, 1341-1347.


K. Ramamurthy, E. K. K. Nambiar and G. I. S. Ranjani, 2009. A classification of studies on properties of foam concrete. Cement and Concrete Composites 31, 388-396.


N. Narayanan and K. Ramamurthy, 2000. Prediction relations based on gel‐pore parameters for the compressive strength of aerated concrete. Concrete Science and Engineering 1 (2), 206-212.

E. P. Kearsley and P. J. Wainwright, 2002. The effect of porosity on the strength of foamed concrete, Cement and Concrete Research 32, 233-239.


R. Kumara and B. Bhattacharjeeb, 2003. Porosity, pore size distribution and in situ strength of concrete. Cement and Concrete Research 33, 155-164.


E. K. K. Nambiar and K. Ramamurthy, 2007. Air‐void characterisation of foam concrete, Cement and Concrete Research 37, 221-230.


Y. Xingang, L. Y. G. Shisong, W. Y. L. Hongfei, W. Yurong and W. Xiaojian, 2011. Pore Structure and Microstructure of Foam Concrete, Advanced Materials Research 177, 530-532


M. Visagie and E. P. Kearsely, 2002. Properties of foamed concrete as influenced by air‐void parameters. Concrete Beton 101, 9-13.

T. Luping, 1986. A study of the quantitative relationship between strength and pore‐size distribution of porous materials. Cement and Concrete Research 16, 87-96.


A. A. Hilal, N. H. Thom and A. R. Dawson, 2014. Pore Structure and Permeation Characteristics of Foamed Concrete, Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology 12, pp 535-544.


D. A. Lange, H. M. Jennings and S. P. Shah, 1994. Image analysis techniques for characterisation of pore structure of Cement‐based materials. Cement and Concrete Research 24 (5), 841-853.


Z. Zhang, F. Ansari and N. Vitillo, 2005. Automated determination of entrained air void parameters in hardened concrete, ACI Materials Journal 102 (1), 42-48.


M. R. Jones and A. McCarthy, 2006. Heat of hydration in foamed concrete: Effect of mix constituents and Plastic density. Cement and Concrete Research 36 (6), 1032-1041.


J. Ambroise, M. Murat and J. Pera, 1985. Hydration reaction and hardening of calcined clays and related minerals. Cement and Concrete Research 15: 261-268.


J. M. Khatib and S. Wild, 1996. Pore size distribution of metakaolin paste. Cement and Concrete Research 26 (10), 1545-1553.


J. Ding and Z. Li, 2002. Effects of metakaolin and silica fume on properties of concrete. ACI Mater J 99 (4): 393-398.


A. L. Cherem, J. P. Gon, P. M. Büchler and J. Dweck, 2008. Effect of metakaolin pozzolanic activity in the early stages of cement type ii paste and mortar hydration. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, Vol. 92, 1, 115-119.


P. Chindaprasirt, S. Homwuttiwong and V. Sirivivatnanon, 2004. Influence of fly ash fineness on strength, dryingshrinkage and sulfate resistance of blended cement mortar. Cement and Concrete Research 34: 1087-1092.


K. A. Gruber, R. T. amlochan, R. D. Hooton and M. D. A. Thomas, 2001. Increasing concrete durability with high- reactivity metakaolin. Cement and Concrete Composites, Vol. 23, 6, 479-484.


A. Balogh, 1995. High-reactivity metakaolin. Concrete Construction 40 (7), 604-610.

J. A. Kostuch, G. V. Walters and T. R. Jones, 1993. In: Dhir RK, Jones MR, editors. High performance concrete incorporating metakaolin: a review. Concrete 2000. E & FN Spon; 1799-811.

F. Bektas and K. Wang, 2012. Performance of ground clay brick in ASR-affected concrete: Effects on expansion, mechanical properties and ASR gel chemistry. Cement and Concrete Composites 34, 273-278.


G. Moriconi, V. Corinaldesi and R. Antonucci, 2003. Environmentally friendly mortars: a way to improve bond between mortar and brick. Materials and Structures 36, 702-708.


L. Turanli, F. Bektas and P. Monterio, 2003. Use of ground clay brick as a pozzolanic material to reduce the alkali silica reaction. Cement and Concrete Research 33, 1539-1542.


A. A. Aliabdo, A. M. Abd-Elmoaty, and H. H. Hassan, 2014. Utilization of crushed clay brick in cellular concrete production. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 53, 119-130.


F. Debieb and S. b. Kenai, 2008. The use of coarse and fine crushed bricks as aggregate in concrete. Construction and Building Materials 22, 886-893.


N. M. Ibrahim, S. Salehuddin, R. C. Amat, N. L. Rahim and T. N. T. Izhar, 2013. Performance of Lightweight Foamed Concrete with Waste Clay Brick as Coarse Aggregate. APCBEE, Procedia 5, 497 - 501.


P.B. Cachim, 2009. Mechanical properties of brick aggregate concrete. Construction and Building Materials 23, 1292- 1297.


V.P. Sandra, 2014. Harvard Physico-chemical and toxicological studies of engineered nanoparticles emitted from printing equipment. Harvard school of public health.

N. B. Winter, 2012. Scanning Electron Microscopy of the Cement and Concrete.

BS EN 12390-8:2009, Testing for capillary water absorption.

BS 1881-122:2011, Testing for total water absorption.

BS EN 12390-3:2009, Testing hardened concrete.

How to Cite
Shawnim, P., & Mohammad, F. (2019). POROSITY, PERMEABILITY AND MICROSTRUCTURE OF FOAMED CONCRETE THROUGH SEM IMAGES. Journal of Civil Engineering, Science and Technology, 10(1), 22-33. https://doi.org/10.33736/jcest.1434.2019