Sulfate attack and the accompanying crystallization of fibrous ettringite [Ca6Al2(OH)12(SO4) 3·26H2O] cause cracking and loss of strength in concrete structures. Hard synchrotron X-ray microdiffraction is used to quantify the orientation distribution of ettringite crystals. Diffraction images are analyzed using the Rietveld method to obtain information on textures. The analysis reveals that the c axes of the trigonal crystallites are preferentially oriented perpendicular to the fracture surfaces. By averaging single-crystal elastic properties over the orientation distribution, it is possible to estimate the elastic anisotropy of ettringite aggregates. © 2009 International Union of Crystallography.