Investigative methods for the characterisation of historic mortars - Part 2: chemical characterisation

B. Middendorf, J.J. Hughes, K. Callebaut, G. Baronio, I. Papayianni

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81 Citations (Scopus)


In addition to the mineralogical characterisation of components of binder and aggregate in historic mortars, it is sometimes necessary to perform a chemical analysis on the materials in historic mortars. Acid dissolution/separation of binder from aggregate is the simplest method, and allows the determination of the chemical composition of the acid-soluble binder and, after separation, information on the mortar's aggregate. It is limited, when aggregate is acid-soluble.
A range of significant analysis can be made including for soluble silica that relates to hydrated calcium silicates in the binder, and thus the hydraulicity of the binder. Other wet chemical analyses can be performed on the acid filtrate for soluble oxides of Fe, Al, Ca, Mg, S, Na and K. There may also be a requirement for the identification of organic substances, pigments and salts within a historic mortar.
Chemical analysis forms a 2nd part of a possible scheme of characterisation of historic mortars that is presented as a flowchart. Chemical analysis also satisfies requirements for information input to conservation, repair and restoration works on historic buildings for the choice of compatible replacement materials. Corroboration of evidence of identification and quantification for chemical composition is best supported by a combination of methods, including mineralogical analysis methods. All methods of characterisation require qualified and experienced people to carry out the analyses. © 2004 RILEM. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-780
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials and Structures
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Hydrated Calcium Silicate
  • Insoluble Residue
  • Binder Content
  • Hemi Hydrate
  • Mortar Sample


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