Study of the effects of salt crystallisation on degradation of limestone rocks.

Mauro Francesco La Russa, Silvestro Antonio Ruffolo, Cristina Maria Belfiore, Piergiorgio Aloise, Natalia Rovella, Luciana Randazzo, Antonino Pezzino, Giuseppe Montana


 Salt crystallization is widely recognized as a cause of deterioration of porous building materials. In particular, the crystallization pressure of salt crystals growing in confined pores is found to be the main cause for damage. The aim of this study is to better understand the degradation of porous rocks induced by salt crystallisation and correlate such processes with the intrinsic characteristics of materials. With this intend, an experimental salt weathering simulation has been carried out on two limestones widely used in the Baroque architecture of eastern Sicily. A systematic approach including petrographic, porosimetric and colorimetric analyses, was used to evaluate the correlation among salt crystallisation, microstructural and chromatic variations of limestone. Results showed a quite different resistance of the two limestones to salt damage, and this was found to be strongly dependent on their pore structure and textural characteristics.


Degradation; limestone; salt crystallisation pressure; microstructure.

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0369-8963 - ISSN ONLINE: 2239-1002