Natural and Artificial Building Stones: Insights from Petrophysical Properties and Consolidation Procedures

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2024 | Viewed by 9923

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cadiz, 11519 Cadiz, Spain
Interests: mineralogy; construction materials; natural stone; mortar; petrophysics; porous system; durability; consolidants; geoarchaeology; archaeometry

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Guest Editor
Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
Interests: mineralogy; soils; binders; clay products

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Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cadiz, 11519 Cadiz, Spain
Interests: mineralogy; archaeometry; geoarchaeology; prehistory; raw materials; geological heritage

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The great variety of types of natural stone and their availability have favored their wide use both in monuments and in historical and new buildings. However, each variety has characteristic properties, such as its mineralogy, texture, or structures, that ultimately determine their qualities or funtionalities as construction materials. On the other hand, artificial stones are becoming more frequent because they can be lighter or cheaper than natural stone, as well as having specific characteristics on demand. For these reasons, it is important to know their behavior and durability, since these materials could also be a good replacement option in actions to conserve the built cultural heritage, in addition to its use in modern construction. Furthermore, climate change as well as all bioenvironmental and anthropic agents are intensifying the deterioration of these construction materials. For these reasons, additional experimental setups are being carried out under atmospheric conditions to evaluate these materials under real conditions and compare with laboratory approachs. In the same way, the development of new consolidating products has grown exponentially in the last two decades.  Despite this, the behavior of these products, which can be affected by the affinity with the mineral substrate, or even the most suitable method and conditions for applying consolidants, is still open to debate, and new studies must be performed to improve the knowledge.

This Issue welcomes contributions both on the characterization of building stones by classic approaches in the laboratory and in the field, including novel insights through new techniques, as well as innovative products and procedures for the consolidation, e.g., green products to improve the eco-friendly conservation, in order to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms and conditions that limit the durability of any building stones.

Dr. Eduardo Molina
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Cultrone
Prof. Dr. Salvador Domínguez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  •  natural stone
  •  artificial stone
  •  characterization
  •  environmental factors
  •  climatic change
  •  durability
  •  consolidants
  •  nanomaterials
  •  cultural heritage
  •  new buildings
  •  green materials

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

28 pages, 6441 KiB  
Article
Salt Crystallization on Crazannes Limestone in a Long-Term Storage Environment
by Patricia Vazquez and Jerome Lux
Minerals 2023, 13(10), 1282; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13101282 - 29 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1028
Abstract
This study focuses on the damage caused by salt crystallization and the associated weathering processes in Crazannes limestone during storage. The main objective was to understand the factors contributing to the limestone’s observed flaking and granular disintegration, which cannot be attributed to frequent [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the damage caused by salt crystallization and the associated weathering processes in Crazannes limestone during storage. The main objective was to understand the factors contributing to the limestone’s observed flaking and granular disintegration, which cannot be attributed to frequent salt crystallization cycles experienced in outdoor exposure. Porosity and chemical analyses were performed to identify the salt minerals and their distribution within the stone’s microstructure. Chemical analyses revealed the presence of gypsum on the powdery weathered residues and stone surface, while halite was consistently found throughout the samples, with higher concentrations on the surface. The storage of the blocks in a closed room led to moisture evaporation and an increase in relative humidity (RH) ranging from 60% to 75%. Under these conditions, the gypsum crust remained relatively stable. The threshold for halite crystallization decreased to 65% RH in the presence of other salts. Consequently, even slight fluctuations in RH (%) caused by seasonal variations could induce cycles of NaCl crystallization and dissolution, resulting in damage behind the gypsum crust that protects the surface. Despite gypsum and halite not being the most aggressive salts, the porous nature of Crazannes limestone made it highly susceptible to salt-induced deterioration, leading to significant damage during storage, even with a minimal number of cycles. These results highlight the importance of controlling the storage conditions when stones are contaminated by salts. Full article
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22 pages, 5233 KiB  
Article
Green Biocidal Nanotechnology Use for Urban Stone-Built Heritage—Case Study from Oradea, Romania
by Dorina Camelia Ilies, Lucian Blaga, Alexandru Ilies, Ana Cornelia Pereș, Tudor Caciora, Thowayeb H. Hassan, Nicolaie Hodor, Alexandru Turza, Hamid R. Taghiyari, Lucian Barbu-Tudoran, Ranjan Kumar Dahal, Paula Dejeu, Bahodirhon Safarov and Mallik Akram Hossain
Minerals 2023, 13(9), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13091170 - 04 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1634
Abstract
Heritage buildings clad with natural rock endure over time destruction caused by weathering mechanisms, pollution from urban areas, biodeterioration due to organisms, microorganisms, and also the anthropic factor. On the surface of the limestone samples taken from the ornamental natural rock with which [...] Read more.
Heritage buildings clad with natural rock endure over time destruction caused by weathering mechanisms, pollution from urban areas, biodeterioration due to organisms, microorganisms, and also the anthropic factor. On the surface of the limestone samples taken from the ornamental natural rock with which the outside of Markovits-Mathéser house, Oradea, Romania, is clad, two species of fungi were inoculated in the laboratory: Aspergillus spp. and Cladosporium spp. Wollastonite was then applied, and from the imaging analysis (SEM), the inhibition of fungi by it is clearly observed (48 h after its application), which was also confirmed using the image segmentation method. It was also noted that the hydrophilicity of the aqueous suspension of wollastonite resulted in the absorption of water in the substrate, which in turn resulted in the drying out and surface breakage of the specimens. X-ray diffraction analysis showed the presence of the two phases (calcite and quartz) as in the starting sample, and also an additional phase assigned to wollastonite in the later phase of the experiment. An amorphous component, due to the applied gel composition, was also reported. This research highlights the fact that there are good premises for aqueous suspension of wollastonite to have a biocidal character for Aspegillus spp. and Cladosporium spp., when applied on natural stone used in the construction of heritage buildings located in temperate climates; due to its easy application, green and ecofriendly properties, and also low cost of acquisition and application. Full article
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21 pages, 10515 KiB  
Article
Study on the Characteristics of Damaged Sandstone in the Longshan Grottoes Using Water Chemistry and Freeze–Thaw Cycling
by Bo Sun, Xingyue Li, Kai Cui, Ningbo Peng, Jie Hong, Rui Chen and Chen Jia
Minerals 2023, 13(3), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13030430 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
Sandstone from the Longshan Grottoes in Taiyuan, China, was the research object of this paper. The sandstone samples were soaked in distilled water, Na2SO4 solution, and NaCl solution and subjected to freeze–thaw testing. Sandstone specimens were treated with 0, 5, [...] Read more.
Sandstone from the Longshan Grottoes in Taiyuan, China, was the research object of this paper. The sandstone samples were soaked in distilled water, Na2SO4 solution, and NaCl solution and subjected to freeze–thaw testing. Sandstone specimens were treated with 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 freeze–thaw cycles. The mass ratio, P-wave velocity, surface hardness, uniaxial compressive strength, and other physical-mechanical features of rock samples were measured after different numbers of cycles. The results of mercury injection, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction were combined to explore the damage mechanisms and characteristics of the rock samples under the combined action of chemicals and freeze–thaw cycles. It was found that the damage degree of sandstone increased logarithmically with the number of cycles, with Na2SO4 solution causing the most damage. Damage variables D of the samples soaked in distilled water, Na2SO4 solution, and NaCl solution after 30 freeze–thaw cycles were 3.89%, 6.51%, and 4.74%, respectively. The difference in damage between the solutions is caused by the combination of frost heave, dissolution, and salt crystallization, and the damage process generally occurs from the inside and the outside and is manifested as an increase in the number of macropores and the appearance of new pores. Freezing–thawing and salt action are important causes of the powdering and detachment of sandstone in the Longshan Grottoes. Full article
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21 pages, 14314 KiB  
Article
Investigation into the Gaseous SO2 Attack on Sandstone in the Yungang Grottoes
by Yue Zhang, Cheng Cao, Houmeng Du, Jizhong Huang, Xiuwei Guo, Qingyang Luo and Jianguang Ren
Minerals 2023, 13(1), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13010123 - 13 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1792
Abstract
The Yungang Grottoes, with over 1500 years of history, have been subjected to air pollution since the last century. Field investigations have indicated that acid gases, particularly sulfur dioxide (SO2), have accumulated on the surface of the sculptures and caused various [...] Read more.
The Yungang Grottoes, with over 1500 years of history, have been subjected to air pollution since the last century. Field investigations have indicated that acid gases, particularly sulfur dioxide (SO2), have accumulated on the surface of the sculptures and caused various types of decay that reduce their artistic value. To shed new light on the gas–stone interaction process, artificially accelerated weathering was performed on local sandstone in the laboratory. In a specially developed test device, fresh specimens were exposed to gaseous SO2 under different relative humidity and temperature conditions. The physical, mineralogical, and chemical changes of Yungang sandstone were evaluated conjointly using destructive and non-destructive methods. The results show that after weathering, the luminosity of all specimens changed, with a slight alteration in hue toward yellow. The weight increased to various degrees during the aging cycles, which depended on both the accumulation of matter and the detachment of particles. Higher relative humidity and cyclic temperature fluctuations favored the dissolution of carbonates and the hydrolysis of feldspar in sandstone. The concentration of ions, especially dissolved Ca2+ and SO42−, increased considerably over time in the near-surface region of the specimens. A trace of newly formed gypsum was detected in some specimens at the end of the test. Knowing the synergistic impact of different climatic variables will make it possible to identify the mechanisms of the deterioration of sandstone in complex environments. Full article
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34 pages, 31457 KiB  
Article
Coastal Environment Impact on the Construction Materials of Anfushi’s Necropolis (Pharos’s Island) in Alexandria, Egypt
by Abdelrhman Fahmy, Eduardo Molina-Piernas, Javier Martínez-López, Philip Machev and Salvador Domínguez-Bella
Minerals 2022, 12(10), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12101235 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3103
Abstract
The only example and reference of Ptolemaic Alexandrian tombs, with clear integrations of Egyptian-style scenes and decorations, is considered an endangered archaeological site due to different coastal environmental risks in Alexandria and the absence of maintenance. Anfushi’s Necropolis is located near the western [...] Read more.
The only example and reference of Ptolemaic Alexandrian tombs, with clear integrations of Egyptian-style scenes and decorations, is considered an endangered archaeological site due to different coastal environmental risks in Alexandria and the absence of maintenance. Anfushi’s Necropolis is located near the western harbour (Island of Pharos) and dates back to the 2nd century BC. Sea level rises, earthquakes, flooding, storminess, variations in temperature, rainfall, and wind are the factors that have the largest effect on the destruction and decay of Anfushi’s Necropolis building materials. This paper’s main objectives were to characterize this necropolis’s building materials and assess its durability problems and risks regarding the coastal environment. Additionally, the vector mapping of its architectural and structural elements was applied for documentation and recording purposes for the necropolis. To achieve these aims, field (recording and photographs), desk (engineering drawing and mapping), and laboratory works (X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, binocular microscopy, polarizing microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy) were carried out. The results confirmed the probabilistic risk of sea level rises and its impact on the submergence of Anfushi’s Necropolis. The structural deficiencies of the tombs were caused by the effect of earthquake tremors along with anthropogenic factors. In addition, chemical and microscopic investigations showed that salt weathering (halite and gypsum) induced the decay of the building materials. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Title: Typology and Construction Method of Oya-stone buildings - through fieldwork of stone buildings in the town of Japanese tuff

Authors: Akio Yasumori et al.

2. Title: Relationship between atmospheric pollutants and decay patterns on building heritage

Authors: Vasco Fassina et al.

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