Characterization of Construction Materials

By Prof. Manu Santhanam, Prof. Piyush Chaunsali   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 2263
The objective of the course is to introduce students to the characterization of construction materials and their behaviour, with a view of developing their understanding of the mechanisms that govern the performance of these materials. The course will be focused primarily on cement and concrete, and include the following techniques; the physics of the techniques and their application to cement science, including lab demonstrations and experiments will be covered.
1. Calorimetry 2. X-ray diffraction 3. Thermal analysis 4. Surface area measurement 5. Microscopy (Optical and SEM) 6. Image analysis 7. Spectroscopy techniques: Atomic Absorption / Emission, Infra-Red, UV-Vis and NMR 8. Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry 9. Impedance analysis
INTENDED AUDIENCE : Interested Learners
PREREQUISITES : Basic Civil Engineering degree
INDUSTRY SUPPORT : Cement companies, Concrete Producers, Construction chemical manufacturers, Construction companies
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 27 Jan 2020
End Date : 17 Apr 2020
Exam Date : 26 Apr 2020 IST
Enrollment Ends : 03 Feb 2020
Category :
  • Civil Engineering
Credit Points : 3
Level : Postgraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction to course; Structure of Construction Materials – An Overview
Week 2: Calorimetry
Week 3: X-ray diffraction
Week 4: X-ray diffraction
Week 5: Thermal analysis
Week 6: Surface area measurement
Week 7: Optical microscopy
Week 8: Scanning electron microscopy
Week 9: Image analysis
Week 10: Spectroscopic techniques
Week 11: Mercury intrusion porosimetry
Week 12: Impedance analysis and ultrasonic methods

Books and references

1. Karen Scrivener, Ruben Snellings, Barbara Lothenbach, A Practical Guide to Microstructural Analysis of Cementitious Materials, CRC Press, 2015.
2. V. S. Ramachandran and James J. Beaudoin, Eds., Handbook of Analytical Techniques in Concrete Science and Technology, William Andrew Publishing, New York, 2001.
3. D A St. John, A. W. Poole, and I. Sims, Concrete Petrography – A Handbook of Investigative Techniques, Arnold Publishing. London, 1998.
4. William D. Callister, Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction, Sixth Edition, John Wiley and Sons, 2003.
6. J. M. Illston and P. L. J. Domone, Construction Materials – Their Nature and Behaviour, Third Edition, Spon Press, 2001.
5. Jan Skalny, Editor, Materials Science of Concrete, Volumes I – VII, American Ceramic Society, 1989 – 2005.
7. J.F. Young, S. Mindess, R.J. Gray and A. Bentur, The Science and Technology of Civil Engineering Materials, Prentice Hall, 1998.

Instructor bio

Prof. Manu Santhanam

Dr. Manu Santhanam is a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras. His research interests are in multi-scale characterization of concrete, supplementary cementing materials, durability and non-destructive evaluation.

Prof. Piyush Chaunsali

IIT Madras
Dr. Piyush Chaunsali is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras. His research focuses on the use of principles of materials science, life-cycle assessment and structural engineering to design sustainable building materials.

Course certificate

• The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
• The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams:
26th April 2020, Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
• Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
• The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
• Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


• Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
• Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
• Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

• If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.
• Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.
• Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

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