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Method for Assessment of Changes in the Width of Cracks in Cement Composites with Use of Computer Image Processing and Analysis

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Crack width measurement is an important element of research on the progress of self-healing cement composites. Due to the nature of this research, the method of measuring the width of cracks and their changes over time must meet specific requirements. The article presents a novel method of measuring crack width based on images from a scanner with an optical resolution of 6400 dpi, subject to initial image processing in the ImageJ development environment and further processing and analysis of results. After registering a series of images of the cracks at different times using SIFT conversion (Scale-Invariant Feature Transform), a dense network of line segments is created in all images, intersecting the cracks perpendicular to the local axes. Along these line segments, brightness profiles are extracted, which are the basis for determination of crack width. The distribution and rotation of the line of intersection in a regular layout, automation of transformations, management of images and profiles of brightness, and data analysis to determine the width of cracks and their changes over time are made automatically by own code in the ImageJ and VBA environment. The article describes the method, tests on its properties, sources of measurement uncertainty. It also presents an example of application of the method in research on autogenous self-healing of concrete, specifically the ability to reduce a sample crack width and its full closure within 28 days of the self-healing process.

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Geosciences, other, Materials Sciences, Composites, Porous Materials, Physics, Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics