The influence of petrophysical properties on the salt weathering of porous building rocks
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The influence of pore structure, water transport properties and rock strength on salt weathering is evaluated by means of a thorough rock characterisation and a statistical analysis. The pore structure was described in terms of its porosity, pore size distribution (quantified by mean pore radius) and specific surface area, density and water transport was characterised by means of water permeability (saturated flow) and capillary imbibition (unsaturated flow); whilst the rock strength test was carried out using uniaxial compressive strength, compressional and shear wave velocities, dynamic elastic constants and waveform energy and attenuation were obtained from the digital analysis of the transmitted signal. A principal component analysis and a stepwise multiple regression model was carried out in order to examine the direct relationships between salt weathering and petrophysical properties. From the principal component analysis, two main components were obtained and assigned a petrophysical meaning. The first component is mostly linked to mechanical properties, porosity and density whereas the second component is associated with the water transport and pore structure. Salt weathering, quantified by the percentage of weight loss after salt crystallisation, was included in both principal components, showing its dependence on their petrophysical properties. The stepwise multiple regression analysis found that rock strength has a predominant statistical weight in the prediction of salt weathering, with a minor contribution of water transport and pore structure parameters.