• Marwa Jebbawy IMT Nord-Europe, Douai, France
  • Vincent Thiery IMT Nord-Europe, Douai, France
  • Myriam Bouichou Pôle "Béton", LRMH, Paris, France
  • Elisabeth Marie-Victoire Pôle "Béton", LRMH, Paris, France
  • Catherine Davy Centrale Lille, F-59651 Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France
  • Laurent Izoret SFIC, Syndicat Français de l’Industrie, Cimentière, Paris-La-Défense Cedex
  • Cyrille Albert-Mercier UPHF – Laboratoire des Matériaux Céramiques et Procédés Associés (LMCPA)
  • Myriam Moreau Univ. Lille, CNRS, UMR 8516 – LASIR, Laboratoire Avancé de Spectroscopie pour les Interactions, la Réactivité et l’Environnement, Lille, France
Keywords: natural cement, Portland cement, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy


Natural and Roman cements are generally considered as the first binders of the 19th century concrete but their widespread usage was short-lived as they were quickly replaced by artificial cements (Portland), still the most important and predominant today. The Boulogne-Sur-Mer area in the North of France is one of the cradles of the French cement industry where the first French natural cement was produced in 1802 and the first French Portland cement at around 1850. These cements, natural and artificial, quickly gained a national and international fame. This paper presents a case study of a 19th century aqueduct, still in operation, with a focus on identifying the binders of concretes and mortars. Several combined techniques – optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) – were carried out to characterize and determine the compositions of the binders present in the aqueduct. Phenolphthalein tests were carried out in order to evaluate the depth of carbonation in the concrete. Several concrete and mortar samples, from pinkish to greyish ones, were taken from the outer and inner parts of the aqueduct. Results show several clinker morphologies and compositions, and different types of hydrates. They also reveal important differences in the microstructure between natural and Portland cement, dated from an early period of the cement industry in France. The concomitance of the use of natural and Portland cement, and good durability of these materials highlight the know-how of the engineers in the 1860s on cement performances and characteristics.


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How to Cite
Jebbawy M, Thiery V, Bouichou M, Marie-VictoireE, Davy C, Izoret L, Albert-MercierC, Moreau M. STUDY OF THE FIRST BOULOGNE-SUR-MER CEMENTS USED FOR A HISTORIC AQUEDUCT FROM THE 19TH CENTURY. MatTech [Internet]. 2022Oct.6 [cited 2023Dec.1];56(5):555–561. Available from: