Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 1327–1336 | Cite as

Influence of pore morphology on the durability of sedimentary building stones from Aragon (Spain) subjected to standard salt decay tests

  • Oscar BujEmail author
  • Josep Gisbert
Original Article


The aim of the present article is to identify the influence of the pore morphology on the physical behaviour and durability of natural stone. Fifteen sedimentary rocks commonly used in the cultural and architectural heritage of Aragon (Spain) were characterized. The petrography, porous structure, fluid transport properties and durability of these rocks were analysed. They were classified into two different groups according to the results of the different tests. For each of these groups the physical behaviour was established. A principal components analysis was used in order to examine the correlation between pore structure, hydric properties and durability. The results show that the percentage of pore throats <0.1 μm control the fluid transport properties, have an important influence on stone durability, and can be used to predict resistance to salt decay while the average pore size does not. Stones with a high percentage of pore throats <0.1 μm are less susceptible to salt decay than stones with higher pore size if their pore network is characterized by high tortuosity and low connectivity.


Building stone Physical properties Porous structure Salt decay Durability 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Giuseppe Bargossi and Fausto Peddis for performing the mercury porosimetry measurements.


  1. Amoroso GG, Fassina V (1983) Stone decay and conservation: atmospheric pollution, cleaning, consolidation and protection. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 454Google Scholar
  2. Angeli M, Benavente D, Bigas JP, Menéndez B, Hébert R, David C (2008) Modification of the porous network by salt crystallization in experimentally weathered sedimentary stones. Mater Struct 41:1091–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benavente D, García del Cura MA, Bernabeu A, Ordoñez S (2001) Quantification of salt weathering in porous stones using an experimental continuos partial immersion method. Eng Geol 59:313–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benavente D, Garcia del Cura MA, Fort R, Ordoñez S (2004) Durability estimation of porous building stones from pore structure and strength. Eng Geol 74:113–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benavente D, Cueto N, Martinez-Martinez JM, Garcaa del Cura A, Canaveras JC (2007) The influence of petrophysical properties on the salt weathering of porous building rocks. Environ Geol 52:215–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benavente D, Cultrone G, Gómez-Heras M (2008) The combined influence of mineralogical, hygric and thermal properties on the durability of porous building stone. Eur J Mineral 20:673–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bidner T, Mirwald PW, Recheis A, Brüggerhoff S (2002) Stone as sensor material for weathering. In: Prikryl R, Viles HA (eds) Understanding and managing stone decay. The Karolinum Press, Prague, pp 97–111Google Scholar
  8. Buj O (2008) Caracterización tecnológica de las rocas aragonesas de usos constructivos: propiedades hídricas y durabilidad de las rocas con uso ornamental. Tesis Doctoral, Universidad de ZaragozaGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooke RU (1994) Salt weathering and the urban water table in deserts. In: Robinson DA, Williams RBG (eds) Rock weathering and landform evolution. Wiley, Chichester, pp 193–205Google Scholar
  10. Cooke RU, Gibbs GB (1995) Crumbling heritage. Studies of stone weathering in polluted atmospheres. National Power PLC and PowerGen PLC, Swindon, 68 ppGoogle Scholar
  11. Cultrone G, Russo LG, Calabrò C, Urosevic M, Pezzino A (2008) Influence of pore system characteristics on limestone vulnerability: a laboratory study. Environ Geol 54:1271–1281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. European Committee for Standardization EN 12370 (1999) Natural stone test methods-determination of resistance to salt crystallizationGoogle Scholar
  13. European Committee for Standardization EN 13755 (2002) Natural stone test methods-determination of water absorption at atmospheric pressureGoogle Scholar
  14. European Committee for Standardization EN 1925 (1999) Natural stone test methods- determination of water absorption coefficient by capillarityGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans IS (1970) Salt crystallization and rock weathering: a review. Rev Geomorphol Dyn 19:155–177Google Scholar
  16. Everett DH (1961) The thermodynamics of frost damage to porous solids. Trans Faraday Soc 465(57, 9):1441–1451Google Scholar
  17. Fitzner B, Snethlage R (1982) Zum EinfluB der Porenradienverti. Eilung auf das Verwitterungsverhalten ausgewählter Sandsteine. Bautenschult Bausan 3-82:97–102Google Scholar
  18. Fitzner B, Heinrichs K, Volker M (1996) Model for salt weathering at Maltese globigerina limestones. In: Zezza F (ed) Origin, mechanisms and defects of salts on degradation of monuments in marine and continental environments, protection and conservation of the European cultural heritage research report 4, Tecnomack, Bari, pp 333–344Google Scholar
  19. Folk RL (1962) Spectral subdivision of limestones types. In: Ham WE (ed) Classification of carbonate rocks. AAPGA 1:62–84Google Scholar
  20. Gomez-Heras M, Fort R (2007) Patterns of halite (NaCl) crystallisation in building stone conditioned by laboratory heating regimes. Environ Geol 52:259–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goudie AS (1993) Salt weathering simulation using a single immersion technique. Earth Surf Process Landf 18:369–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goudie AS (1999) Experimental salt weathering of limestone in relation to rock properties. Earth Surf Process Landf 24:715–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goudie AS, Viles HA (1997) Salt weathering hazard. Wiley, New York, 256 ppGoogle Scholar
  24. Jornet A, Teruzzi T, Rück P (2002) Bowing of Carrara marble slabs: comparison between natural and artificial weathering. In: Prikryl R, Viles HA (eds) Understanding and managing stone decay. The Karolinum Press, Prague, pp 161–169Google Scholar
  25. Litvan GG (1981) Frost action in porous system. Seminarie Alteration et Durabilité des Betons et des Pierres 1:95–108Google Scholar
  26. McGreevy JP (1996) Pore properties of limestone as controls on salt weathering susceptibility: a case study. In: Smith BJ, Warke PA (eds) Processes of urban stone decay. Donhead Publishing, Shaftesbury, pp 150–167Google Scholar
  27. Nicholson DT (2001) Pore properties as indicators of breakdown mechanisms in experimentally weathered limestones. Earth Surf Process Landf 26:819–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ordóñez S, Fort R, García del Cura MA (1997) Pore size distribution and the durability of a porous limestone. Q J Eng Geol 30:221–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pera E, Burlini L (2002) Elastic properties of selected Italian marbles. In: Prikryl R, Viles HA (eds) Understanding and managing stone decay. The Karolinum Press, Prague, pp 171–182Google Scholar
  30. Pettijohn FJ, Potter PE, Siever R (1987) Sand and sandstone. Springer, New York, 553 ppGoogle Scholar
  31. Price CA (1978) The use of sodium sulphate crystallization test for determining the weathering resistance of untreated stone. In: UNESCO/Rilem international symposium deterioration and protection of stone monuments, Reilure, Paris, 3.6, 23 ppGoogle Scholar
  32. Price CA (1996) Stone conservation: an overview of current research. Research in conservation. The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 73 ppGoogle Scholar
  33. Prikryl R, Dudková I (2002) Experience with long term experimental exposure of building stones: a 70 years study in the Czech Republic. In: Prikryl R, Viles HA (eds) Understanding and managing stone decay. The Karolinum Press, Prague, pp 135–143Google Scholar
  34. Rodríguez-Navarro C, Dohene E (1999) Salt weathering: influence of evaporation rate, supersaturation and crystallisation pattern. Earth Surf Process Landf 24:191–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rossi-Manaresi R, Tucci A (1991) Pore structure and the disruptive or cementing effect of salt crystallization in various types of stone. Stud Conserv 36:53–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ruedrich J, Kirchner D, Seidel M, Siegesmund S (2005) Deterioration of natural building stones induced by salt and ice crystallisation in the pore space as well as hygric expansion processes. In: Siegesmund S, Auras M, Ruedrich J, Snethlage R (eds) Geowissenschaften und Denkmalpflege. Zeitschrift Deutsche Geologische Gesellschaft 156/1:59–73Google Scholar
  37. Russell SA (1927) Stone preservation committee report. Appendix 1. H.M. Stationary Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  38. Schaffer RJ (1932) The weathering of natural building stones. Building Research Establishment, Watford, 149 ppGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith BJ, McAlister JJ (1986) Observations on the occurrence and origins of salt weathering phenomena near Lake Magadi, southern Kenya. Zeitschrift fuér Geomorphologie NF 30:445–460Google Scholar
  40. Smith BJ, McGreevy JP (1988) Contour scaling of a sandstone by salt weathering under simulated hot desert conditions. Earth Surf Process Landf 13:697–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sperling CHB, Cooke RU (1985) Laboratory simulation of rock weathering by salt crystallisation and hydration processes in hot, arid environments. Earth Surf Process Landf 10:541–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tiab D, Donaldson EC (1996) Petrophysics: theory and practice of measuring reservoir rock and fluid transport properties. Gulf Publishing Company, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  43. Valdeon L, De Freitas MH, King MS (1996) Assessment of the quality of building stones using signal processing procedures. Q J Eng Geol 29:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vos BH (1978) Hygric methods for the determination of the behaviour of stones. In: Proceeding of the international symposium on deterioration and protection of stone monuments, Paris, vol 3, pp 8–19Google Scholar
  45. Wellman HW, Wilson AT (1965) Salt weathering, a neglected geological erosive agent in coastal and arid environments. Nature 205:1097–1098CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Winkler EM (1973) Stone: properties, durability in man’s environment. Springer, Berlin, 250 ppGoogle Scholar
  47. Winkler EM (1994) Stone in architecture. Properties and durability. Springer, Berlin, 313 ppGoogle Scholar
  48. Wright VP (1992) A revised classification of limestones. Sediment Geol 76(3–4):177–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zehnder K, Arnold A (1989) Crystal growth in salt efflorescence. J Cryst Growth 97:513–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zezza U (1990) Physical–mechanical properties of quarry and building stones. In: Veniale F, Zezza U (eds) Analytical methodologies for investigation of damage stones, Pavia, pp 1–20Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

Personalised recommendations