Interfacial characteristics of cement mortars containing aggregate derived from industrial slag waste

Hyeongi Lee, Asad Hanif, Muhammad Usman, Younghwan Kim, Hongseob Oh*, Seong Kyum Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this study, porosity assessment of cement mortars containing Precious Slag (PS) Ball–an industrial waste produced by rapid cooling of slag generated from steel making process by Slag Atomizing Technology–is done by Back-Scattered Electron (BSE) image analysis. PS incorporated mortars were fabricated and subsequently evaluated for compressive strength. BSE images were analyzed by pore segmentation method. Binarization on the images using Otsu’s thresholding method was done followed by the porosity determination. As the interfacial attributes were the primary concern, the porosity was determined from the aggregate surface to the 100 μm width. A total of 24 sections were analyzed and the mean values were plotted. Although the PS Ball incorporated mortar exhibited 10% lower strength at 28-day age, it showed stronger and less porous aggregate- matrix interface between (from particle surface up to 35 μm width) as compared to that of normal mortar containing sand, which is justifiable by the chemical composition of PS Ball attributed to the potential chemical binding. Further, the porosity decreased as the distance from aggregate surface increased. While the use of PS Ball is environmentally friendly, its enhanced interfacial properties with some strength loss of resulting cement mortars encourages its use in sustainable construction materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Structural Integrity and Maintenance
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Korea Institute for Structural Maintenance and Inspection.


  • EDX
  • Mortar
  • blast furnace slag
  • image analysis
  • microstructure
  • pore size distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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