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Abstract

Salt crystallization in the pore spaces of building stones can produce significant deterioration. The properties of the salt solution, the salt phases and the climatic conditions, as well as the rock fabric, significantly influence the state of rock weathering. To examine the influences of rock fabric and salt type on salt weathering, detailed investigations were performed on three sandstones. The fabric (mineralogical composition, grain size, etc.) and the petrophysical properties (porosity, pore-size distribution and hygric dilatation) of the sandstones were analysed and correlated with length changes during cyclic salt loading. The salt tests were carried out with two different salt types: (i) sodium sulphate and (ii) sodium chloride. The observed length changes differ for the investigated sandstones. Contractions of the samples, as well as a pronounced residual strain after the applied salt cycles, were observed. Specific deterioration features can be determined for the sandstones independent from the salt types used. However, the decay mechanisms, which lead to a significant deterioration, are different for sodium sulphate and sodium chloride. For sodium sulphate, a strong expansion occurs during the solution uptake cycles. This expansion can be attributed to hydration pressure during the transition from the water-free thenardite to the hydrate phase mirabilite. In contrast, the samples in the sodium chloride test show the main expansion in the drying stage. This can be related to the crystallization pressure caused by the growth of halite.

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