SEM courses




About us

WHD Microanalysis Consultants Ltd is a small company formed in 1987 to provide an independent service to the cement industry and to the wider construction industry.

Why microscopy? Many macro problems with cement and concrete have answers on the micro scale. We use microscopy - particularly scanning electron microscopy - because it is probably the single most powerful tool available for studying microstructure and composition. Other techniques, eg: X-ray diffraction, TGA, DSC, wet chemical analysis, are applied as necessary for any particular project.

Why us? In addition to an understanding of cementitious systems, most of the projects we undertake need the application of aspects of some or all of physics, chemistry, geology, engineering and basic common sense. WHD has been providing this highly specialised service for seventeen years and we aim to offer solutions to problems, not just to examine materials. The 'what' is usually a necessary precursor to the 'how' or 'why' but it is in the hows and whys that our clients and we are mostly interested. Nick Winter, WHD's Managing Director, has 25 years' experience of the application of SEM and XRD to cementitious materials, first at the Research Division of a major cement manufacturer and since 1987 for WHD (brief CV). We offer an independent, confidential and effective service and well over half our work is repeat business from clients with whom we have worked for many years.

Who are our clients? Our clients are anyone with an interest in cement and concrete chemistry or microstructure; mainly these include cement manufacturers, readymix concrete producers, admixture manufacturers, consulting engineers and concrete product manufacturers.


What do we do? Our work concerns the microstructure and composition of most aspects of cementitious materials, including:

Portland cement clinker - production and research
Portland cement - concrete strength variability
alkali-silica reaction
alkali carbonate reaction
sulfate attack, including delayed ettringite formation, thaumasite formation
admixtures - effects of minor differences in cement compositions
sprayed concrete
pulverized fuel ash (PFA) - including reactivity, shape; ground granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBFS); microsilica
autoclaved concrete products - autoclaved aerated concrete (aac, aircrete), calcium silicate bricks
efflorescence on masonry
hydraulic lime and lime mortar
masonry in historic buildings

Our 'Understanding Cement' seminars have been running since 1990

We have been involved in aspects of major UK construction projects, including the channel tunnel, the second Severn crossing, the channel tunnel rail link and the Bury St Edmunds cathedral tower. Our clients include most of the major UK cement manufacturers and readymix concrete producers and some of the larger construction companies and manufacturers of concrete products.

Much of our work is non-routine, often related to troubleshooting or to research and development; often we are asked to assist where routine methods have failed to provide a solution to a problem. If you are working in an area related to cement or concrete composition or microstructure, we can probably help. If we can't, we probably know someone who can!

Contact us for an informal discussion of your project or problem.

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Optical microscopy


Scanning electron microscopy


Examining your clinker


Concrete petrography


Concrete by SEM




Chromium (VI)


Understanding Cement seminars


UC Seminar details


UC e-book


UC Corporate edition


SEM - intro


SEM basics


EDX training


SEM/EDX of cement












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