Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 4, pp 1605–1618 | Cite as

Assessment of the physico-mechanical behaviour of gypsum-lime repair mortars as a function of curing time

  • Jesús Igea RomeraEmail author
  • Sagrario Martínez-Ramírez
  • Pilar Lapuente
  • María Teresa Blanco-Varela
Original Article


Gypsum-based mortars were widely used during the Mudejar artistic period in Spain from the 12th to 16th century. During restoration works, compatibility between the new repair mortars and the original components is essential for an adequate intervention on the monument. The increasing interest of knowing the properties of the gypsum-lime-based mortars for restoration purposes justifies the research carried out. Different mortars compatible with traditional building materials were elaborated by varying the binder proportions, the type of aggregates, the binder/aggregate ratios and the curing time. The main goal of this paper is to characterize the mechanical behaviour and the pore structure of the mortars as a function of curing time. The influence between the different variables used to prepare the mortars and the development of the carbonation process over time is also considered. Mechanical strength and porosity measurements as well as X-ray diffraction and thermal analysis were performed after curing times of 1, 28 and 90 days. The results obtained confirmed a progressive increase in mechanical strength linked to the carbonation of the mortars prepared. Less lime binder and also aggregate contents showed the highest rise in strength over time, related to the highest initial porosity which favoured the carbon dioxide flow. The use of siliceous aggregates (GL-QS mortars) obtained the best results in the development of physico-mechanical properties over curing time. The knowledge obtained from the studied mortars provides practical information to establish a suitable mortar mixture for restoration works on historic buildings and modern architecture where gypsum-lime-based mortars are used.


Gypsum-lime mortars Restoration Curing Carbonation Mechanical properties Porosity 



The present study was supported by Departamento de Patrimonio del Gobierno deAragón and Europe Programme from Caja de Ahorros de la Inmaculada (CAI). We are also grateful to Esyedebro and Calcinor for the material supplied.


  1. Alejandre FJ (2002) Historia, caracterización y restauración de morteros. Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Construcción y Universidad de Sevilla, SevillaGoogle Scholar
  2. Arandigoyen M, Álvarez JI (2006) Carbonation process in lime pastes with different water/binder ratio. Mater Constr 56:5–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arredondo F (1961) Estudio de materiales. El yeso. CSIC y Patronato Juan de la Cierva de investigación técnica, MadridGoogle Scholar
  4. Blanco-Varela MT, Aguilera J, Martíınez-Ramírez S, Puertas F, Palomo A, Sabbioni C, Zappia G, Riontino C, Van Balen K, Toumbakari EE (2003) Thaumasite formation due to atmospheric SO2-hydraulic mortar interaction. Cem Concr Compos 25:983–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cazalla O (2002) Morteros de cal. Aplicación en el patrimonio histórico. Unpublished PhD thesis (in Spanish), Universidad de Granada (Spain)Google Scholar
  6. Cazalla O, Rodríguez-Navarro C, Sebastián E, Cultrone G, De la Torre MJ (2000) Aging of lime putty: effects on traditional lime mortar carbonation. J Am Ceram Soc 83:1070–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cotrim H, Veiga MR, de Brito J (2008) Freixo palace: rehabilitation of decorative gypsum plasters. Constr Build Mater 22:41–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cultrone G, Sebastián E, Ortega-Huertas M (2005) Forced and natural carbonation of lime-based mortars with and without additives: mineralogical and textural changes. Cem Concr Res 35:2278–2289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Degryse P, Elsen J, Waelkens M (2002) Study of ancient mortars from Sagalassos (Turkey) in view of their conservation. Cem Concr Res 32:1457–1563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Franzoni E, Sandrolini F, Baldazzi L (2010) Characterization of gypsum-selenite plasters from historic buildings in the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy). In: Válek J, Groot C, Hughes JJ (eds) Proceedings of 2th Historic Mortars Conference and RILEM TC 203-RHM Final Workshop, RILEM Pro 078. Prague, pp 157–164Google Scholar
  11. Freire T, Silva AS, Veiga R, de Brito J (2010) Characterization of portuguese historical gypsum mortars: a comparison between two cases studies. Mater Sci Forum 636–637:1258–1265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gárate I (1993) Artes de la cal. Dirección General de Bellas Artes y Archivos e Instituto de Conservación y Restauración de Bienes Culturales, MadridGoogle Scholar
  13. Genestar C, Pons C (2003) Ancient covering plaster mortars from several convents and Islamic and Ghotic palaces in Palma de Mallorca (Spain). Analytical characterization. J Cult Herit 4:291–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Igea J (2011) Caracterización de los materiales de construcción del Mudéjar aragonés. Diseño de nuevos morteros para su aplicación en restauración. Unpublished PhD Thesis (in Spanish), Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain)Google Scholar
  15. Igea J, Lapuente P, Blanco-Varela MT, Martínez-Ramírez S (2010) Ancient gypsum mortars from Sta. María Magdalena church (Zaragoza, Spain): Advances in technological manufacture. In: Válek J, Groot C, Hughes JJ (eds) Proceedings of 2th Historic Mortars Conference and RILEM TC 203-RHM Final Workshop, RILEM Pro 078. Prague, pp 197–205Google Scholar
  16. Igea J, Lapuente P, Martínez-Ramírez S, Blanco-Varela MT (2012) Characterization of mudejar mortars from St. Gil Abbot church (Zaragoza, Spain): investigation of the manufacturing technology of ancient gypsum mortars. Mater Constr 62:515–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lanas J, Alvarez JI (2003) Masonry repair lime-based mortars: factors affecting the mechanical behaviour. Cem Concr Res 33:1867–1876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lanas J, Pérez-Bernal JL, Bello MA, Álvarez-Galindo JI (2004) Mechanical properties of natural hydraulic lime-based mortars. Cem Concr Res 34:2191–2201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Luxán MP, Dorrego F, Laborde A (1995) Ancient gypsum mortars from St. Engracia (Zaragoza, Spain): characterization. Identification of additives and treatments. Cem Concr Res 25:1755–1765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Luxán MP, Dorrego F, Sotolongo R (2000) Mortars and treatments in the restoration of the Altarpiece of the High Altar of the Pilar Basilica. Mater Constr 258:27–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Maravelaki-Kalaitzakia P, Bakolas A, Karatasios I, Kilikoglou V (2005) Hydraulic lime mortars for the restoration of historic masonry in Crete. Cem Concr Res 35:1577–1586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Martínez-Ramírez S (1995) Desarrollo de nuevos morteros de reparación resistentes al ataque biológico. Unpublished PhD thesis (in Spanish), Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)Google Scholar
  23. Middendorf B (2002) Physico-mechanical and microstructural characteristics of historic and restoration mortars based on gypsum: current knowledge and perspective. In: Siegesmund S, Weiss T, Vollbrecht A (eds) Natural stone, weathering phenomena, conservation strategies and case studies, special publication no 205. Geological Society, London, pp 165–176Google Scholar
  24. Moorehead DR (1986) Cementation by the carbonation of hydrated lime. Cem Concr Res 16:700–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moropoulou A, Bakolas A, Moundoulas P, Aggelakopoulou E, Anagnostopoulou S (2005) Strength development and lime reaction in mortars for repairing historic masonries. Cem Concr Compos 27:289–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rossi-Doria P (1986) Mortars for restoration: basic requirements and quality control. Matériaux et Constr 19:445–448Google Scholar
  27. Sánchez-Moral S, García-Guinea J, Luque L, González-Martín R, López-Arce P (2004) Carbonation cinetics in roman-like lime mortars. Mater Constr 54:23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sanz D (2009) Análisis del yeso empleado en revestimientos exteriores mediante técnicas geológicas. Unpublished PhD thesis (in Spanish), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain)Google Scholar
  29. Schlütter F, Kaiser W, Juling H (2010) High fired gypsum mortar for screeds, terrazzo and masonry repair on historic monuments. Production, properties and sample applications. In: Válek J, Groot C, Hughes JJ (eds) Proceedings of 2th Historic Mortars Conference and RILEM TC 203-RHM Final Workshop, RILEM Pro 078. Prague, pp 1169–1180Google Scholar
  30. Tesch V, Middendorf B (2006) Occurrence of thaumasite in gypsum lime mortars for restoration. Cem Concr Res 36:1516–1522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. UNE-EN 13279-2 (2004) Gypsum binders and gypsum plasters: Part 2. Test methodsGoogle Scholar
  32. UNE-EN 196-1 (2005) Methods of testing cement: Part 1. Determination of strengthGoogle Scholar
  33. UNE-EN 459-1 (2001) Building Lime: Part 1. Definition, specification and conformity criteriaGoogle Scholar
  34. UNE-EN 459-2 (2001) Building lime: Part 2. Test methodsGoogle Scholar
  35. UNE-EN 998-2 (2003) Specifications for mortar masonry: Part 2. Masonry mortarsGoogle Scholar
  36. Van Balen K (2004) Carbonation reaction of lime, kinetic at ambient temperature. Cem Concr Res 35:647–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Van Balen K, Van Gemert D (1994) Modelling lime mortars carbonation. Mater Struct 27:393–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van Hees R (1999) Damage diagnosis and compatible repair mortars. In: RILEM, International Workshop on Historic Mortars: characteristics and tests, RILEM TC-167 COM. Paisley, pp 27–35Google Scholar
  39. Vegas F, Mileto C, Fratini F, Rescic S (2010) May a building stand upon gypsum structural walls and pillars? The use of masonry made of gypsum in traditional architecture in Spain. In: Jäger W, Haseltine B, Fried A (eds) Proceeding of 8th International Masonry Conference. Dresden, pp 2183–2192Google Scholar
  40. Ventolà L, Vendrell M, Giraldez P, Merino L (2011) Traditional organic additives improve lime mortars: new old materials for restoration and building natural stone fabrics. Constr Build Mater 25:3313–3318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wende U, Kozub P, Arnold T, Meinhardt J (2010) High-temperature gypsum plaster: Investigations into conservation and restoration of historic gypsum objects. In: Válek J, Groot C, Hughes JJ (eds) Proceedings of 2th Historic Mortars Conference and RILEM TC 203-RHM Final Workshop, RILEM Pro 078. Prague, pp 1257–1264Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús Igea Romera
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sagrario Martínez-Ramírez
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pilar Lapuente
    • 1
  • María Teresa Blanco-Varela
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragoza (España)Spain
  2. 2.Instituto de Estructura de la Materia IEM-CSICMadrid (España)Spain
  3. 3.Instituto Eduardo Torroja-CSICMadrid (España)Spain

Personalised recommendations