Historic lime mortars: potential effects of local climate on the evolution of binder morphology and composition
Kara R. Dotter, 2010. "Historic lime mortars: potential effects of local climate on the evolution of binder morphology and composition", 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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This research explores preliminary observations regarding the potential effects of local climate conditions on the evolution of binder morphology and the composition or mineralogy of historic lime mortars. Samples were collected from historic buildings, one group dating to c. late nineteenth century and an older group from c. Sixteenth–Seventeenth century, with both groups representing distinct climates. The samples were then prepared and subjected to polarized light microscopy (PLM), point count, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and backscatter election imaging (BSE) analysis to investigate differences in porosity, environmental contaminants and morphological characteristics of the lime binder. By examining the effects of climate on lime mortars, conservators can improve identification and condition assessment of historic lime mortars, better understand causes of damage and decay attributed to previous mortar repairs, and formulate more appropriate conservation mortars to improve protection and conservation of our architectural heritage.
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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.