Estimation of the degree of hydration of concrete through automated machine learning based microstructure analysis – A study on effect of image magnification

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The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images are commonly used to understand the microstructure of the concrete. With the advancements in the field of computer vision, many researchers have adopted the image processing technique for the microstructure analysis. Most of the previous methods are not adaptable, non-reproducible, semi-automated, and most importantly all these methods are highly influenced by image magnification. Therefore, to overcome these challenges, this paper presents a machine learning based image segmentation method for microstructure analysis and degree of hydration measurement using SEM images. In addition, the authors looked into the impact of magnification of SEM images on the model accuracy and classifier training for the degree of hydration measurement considering two scenarios. First, the image segmentation was performed using a classifier of specific magnification, and then a common classifier is trained using the image of different magnification. The results show that the Random Forest classifier algorithm is suitable for microstructure analysis using SEM images. Through the statistical analysis, it has been proved that there is no significant effect of magnification on model training and accuracy for the degree of hydration measurement. So, a single classifier can be used to process the images of different magnification of a specimen which reduces the effort of training and computational time. The proposed method can generate highly accurate and reliable results in a shorter time and lower cost. Moreover, the findings in this research can be useful for researchers to determine the optimum magnification required for the microstructure analysis.

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Advanced Engineering Informatics

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