Roughness of natural aggregates by interferometry and its microstructure

P. H.F. Loz, J. P. Monticelli, M. M. Futai, E. Tutumluer, D. A. Lange, S. C. Angulo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surface roughness of coarse aggregates, regardless of its known influence in the bonding strength with the cement paste in the hardened state and in the viscosity of the composite in the fresh state, it still a barely researched and discussed topic. In addition, little is known about what rock characteristics influences the multiscale roughness of aggregates. This paper aims to evaluate the roughness of distinct types of aggregates in multiscale (macro and micro scale of roughness) using a 3D interferometer and establish a quantitative relation between the granulometry and mineral composition of the rocks and the surface roughness of aggregates. Six types of aggregates, five crushed and one gravel from riverbed, with sizes ranging from 19 to 25 mm were scanned. One sample from each type was chosen for a petrographic analysis. The six types of aggregates analyzed showed statistical differences between them in macro and micro scales of roughness. In the microscale roughness, basalt was considered the smoothest, and surprisingly, the quartzite (gravel), were one of the roughest. In the macro scale roughness, the quartzite (the gravel) was smoother than all the other samples due its rounded shape, while the gneiss was the most irregular particle and had the highest roughness. The quartzite (gravel) is a good example of how an aggregate could be very rough in a microscale (invisible to the naked eye), comparable to crushed aggregates, while being smooth to the touch and rounded. The weathering seems to affect the roughness at micro(nano)scales, independently of the roundness shape observed at millimetric scale. The micro scale roughness appeared to be related to the average size of the grains, the smaller the average grain size, the lower the micro scale roughness is. Rocks with aphanitic textures tends to fracture in smoother surfaces than rocks with phaneritic textures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123646
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
StatePublished - Aug 23 2021


  • Microstructure
  • Multiscale analyses
  • Natural aggregates
  • Roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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