The long term performance of cementitious structures immobilising radioactive waste can be affected by physical and chemical processes within the encapsulating materials such as formation of new phases (e.g., vaterite, brucite), degradation of cement phases (e.g., CSH gel, portlandite), degradation of some waste components (e.g., organics), corrosion of metallic constituents (aluminium, magnesium), gas emission, further hydration etc. The corrosion of metals in the high pH cementitious environment is of especial concern as it can potentially cause wasteform cracking. One of the perspective non-destructive methods used to monitor and assess the mechanical properties of materials and structures is based on an acoustic emission (AE) technique. In this study an AE non-destructive technique was used to evaluate the mechanical performance of cementitious structures with encapsulated metallic waste such as aluminium. AE signals generated as a result of aluminium corrosion in a small-size blast furnace slag (BFS)/ordinary Portland cement (OPC) sample were detected, recorded and analysed. A procedure for AE data analysis including conventional parameter-based AE approach and signal-based analysis was applied and demonstrated to provide information on the aluminium corrosion process and its impact on the mechanical performance of the encapsulating cement matrix.

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