Plasters with mixed-in crystallization inhibitors: Results of a 4-year monitoring of on-site application

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Salt crystallization is a major cause of weathering of mortars, including plasters and renders. In the last decade, the use of mixed-in salt crystallization inhibitors in mortars has been proposed as a solution to improve the durability of this material with respect to salt decay. Laboratory characterization and accelerated weathering tests have shown encouraging results. However, data on the long-term behaviour of these mortars when applied on-site were missing until now .In this research the durability with respect to salt decay of a lime-based plaster and a salt accumulating plaster has been assessed. These plasters, with and without sodium ferrocyanide, a well-known inhibitor of sodium chloride crystallization, have been applied to an interior brick masonry wall with a high salt (sodium chloride) and moisture load and monitored for a period of 4 years. Monitoring included visual and photographic observations of the damage as well as measurements of the moisture and salt content and distribution, both in the wall and in the plaster. Moreover, the content and distribution of the inhibitor in the plaster after 4 year exposure was measured, to gain insight into the dissolution and transport of the inhibitor. The results of the research clearly show that the inhibitor is able to significantly reduce the occurrence of salt-induced decay in the lime-based plaster, in comparison to the plaster without inhibitor. No conclusions can be drawn in the case of the salt accumulating plaster, as no decay has developed yet in this case. Two issues related to leaching of the inhibitor and surface discolouration have emerged. These are discussed and possible solutions are proposed.