Limestones in Germany used as building stones: an overview
Siegfried Siegesmund, Wolf-Dieter Grimm, Helmut Dürrast, Joerg Ruedrich, 2010. "Limestones in Germany used as building stones: an overview", Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-Day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past, B. J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, H. A. Viles, J. Cassar
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Germany has an enormous number of different carbonate rock units, which vary widely in their geological age and sedimentary depositional environment. Limestones quarried from these exposures have a wide range of usages and applications, such as dimension and ornamental stones, floor tiles and panelling, and for use as paving stones and massive stones. Since antiquity, limestones were used as building materials in areas where they were naturally available and abundant. Limestones exhibit a relatively good weathering resistance, which is mainly controlled by the mineralogical composition and the rock structure. The susceptibility of limestones to weathering and alteration is only secondarily related to the stone's contact with rainwater and its exposure to frost. In this situation the pore space is the main controlling factor. Industrialization and the subsequent increase in air pollutants, which started at the end of the nineteenth century, led to the formation of dark and unsightly crust deposits on the limestones surfaces. These crusts, being the result of man-made activities, are the main weathering problem for carbonate dimension stones.
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Limestone is a highly successful and widely used building material, found in many important historic buildings and new monuments around the world. Whilst its success reflects its durability under a wide range of environmental conditions, there are still important questions surrounding the selection, use and conservation of building limestones. In order to make best use of new limestone today, and to conserve old limestone most effectively, we need to bring modern research methods to bear on understanding the characteristics of different limestones, what mortars to use, and how key limestones have responded to polluted atmospheres. This volume brings together recent inter-disciplinary research on these issues, illustrating the diversity of innovative techniques that are now being applied to furthering our understanding of building limestones.