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Effect of mixed in crystallization modifiers on the resistance of lime mortar against NaCI and Na2SO4 crystallization

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Author: Granneman, S.J. · Lubelli, B.A. · Hees, R.P.J. van
Source:Construction and Building Materials, 194, 62-70
Identifier: 843659
Keywords: Architecture and Building · Salt crystallization · Salt damage · Crystallization modifiers · Lime mortar · Sodium chloride · Sodium sulfate · Buildings and Infrastructures · 2015 Urbanisation


Weathering of porous building materials caused by the crystallization of soluble salts is a ubiquitous problem in the built cultural heritage. Especially lime-based mortars are susceptible to salt decay, due to both their bimodal pore size distribution and low mechanical strength. The addition of crystallization modifiers to mortars during mixing may confer them an improved resistance to salt decay. In this research, lime-based mortars additivated with ferrocyanide or borax (modifiers for sodium chloride and sodium sulfate, respectively) were prepared. An accelerated salt crystallization test was carried out to assess the effect of the modifiers on the salt resistance of the mortars. The development of damage was assessed by visual and photographical observations and by quantifying the salt and material loss. At the end of the test, SEM observations were performed on the surface and cross-section of the specimens, to study the effect of the modifiers on the crystallization habit of the salts. The ferrocyanide and borax additivated mortars showed a considerably improved durability with respect to salt crystallization damage. Both modifiers altered the growth morphology of the salt crystals inside the pores of the mortars.