Traditional mortar represented by sticky rice lime mortar—One of the great inventions in ancient China


The development of traditional lime-based bond in ancient times was reviewed in this paper. It was proved by a lot of historical data that the application of organic materials in inorganic mortar was a sharp-cut characteristic during the developing process of construction gelled materials in ancient China. The important role sticky rice mortar ever played and the historical significance were revealed. Due to the excellent performance, such as high adhesive strength, good toughness, water-proof and so on, traditional mortar represented by sticky rice mortar should be one of the greatest technological contributions of the day in the world. Modern technology was employed in the study of the sticky rice lime mortar and the researching results of our laboratory and some researchers, including the composition and the mechanism of solidification, were also presented. It was found that the sticky rice acted as a matrix of bio-mineralization which affected the microstructure of the calcium carbonate crystal and there was cooperation between sticky rice and calcite produced during the solidifying of the sticky rice mortar, which maybe lead to the excellent performance of the mortar. Because of excellent performance and importance in science, sticky rice mortar can be regarded as one of the greatest inventions in construction history of China. Relative research of sticky mortar will be of importance for the exploring of ancient momentous invention and the repairing of ancient construction.

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Correspondence to BingJian Zhang.

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Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 20671080) and the National Technology Support Program of China (Grant No. 2006BAK30B02)

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Yang, F., Zhang, B., Pan, C. et al. Traditional mortar represented by sticky rice lime mortar—One of the great inventions in ancient China. Sci. China Ser. E-Technol. Sci. 52, 1641–1647 (2009).

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  • invention
  • sticky rice lime mortar
  • lime
  • bio-mineralization
  • mechanism