Petrophysical and mechanical properties of soft and porous building rocks used in Apulian monuments (south Italy)
Gioacchino F. Andriani, Nicola Walsh, 2010. "Petrophysical and mechanical properties of soft and porous building rocks used in Apulian monuments (south Italy)", Natural Stone Resources for Historical Monuments, R Přikryl, Á Török
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This paper brings a comprehensive review of the main petrophysical and mechanical properties of calcarenite rocks used from time immemorial in Apulia (south Italy), with load-bearing and decorative functions both in constructions of specific historic and architectonic interest and in more common buildings. These soft and porous rocks show a reduced ability to maintain their characteristics of strength, appearance and resistance to decay over a considerable period of time. Even more than other sedimentary rocks, calcarenites belonging to the same formation can change considerably in terms of physical properties and mechanical behaviour due to the complex spatial arrangement of facies strongly conditioned by depositional fabric and diagenetic processes. A number of calcarenite varieties belonging to the Calcarenite di Gravina Fm. and Pietra Leccese Fm. was selected from different parts of Apulia and characterized according to petrographical, physical and mechanical properties. These included porosity, pore size distribution, density, water absorption, degree of saturation, permeability, thermal properties as well as compressive strength and flexural strength. Particular attention was given to the relationships between rock fabric features and physico-mechanical behaviour of the calcarenites. In addition, a comparison of data for the examined varieties was also discussed. A classification of the Apulian calcarenites based on rock fabric features and uniaxial compressive strength was proposed. Critical observations regarding the durability of the Apulian calcarenites were made, taking into account other data from literature.
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Natural stone is considered to be a versatile, durable and aesthetically pleasing building material. From the beginning of civilization, important structures and monuments have been built from, or based on, natural stone. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the use of local stone resources was mostly in balance with the local environment. Strict environmental legislation has resulted in the closing of many long-standing quarries in industrialized countries, which has led to a shortage of traditional stone varieties. This has caused problems for restoration practice. Cheap, imported stone from less industrialized countries has become more widely available in recent years.
Some of the issues related to built stone conservation and restoration covered by this volume are: the establishment of inventories of possible replacement stones; understanding the decay mechanism and use of preventive conservation methods for slowing down decay processes; evaluation of the properties of natural stone; and assessing the risks of using replacement stones of different qualities.