Investigative methods for the characterisation of historic mortars - Part 1: mineralogical characterisation

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


The mineralogical characterisation of historic mortars is performed for a number of reasons related to the conservation of traditional structures. The reasons for analysis and the questions posed during the conservation, repair or restoration of an old building determine the analysis methods that will be chosen. A range of mineralogical characterisation methods is available for the study of historic masonry mortars. These include X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Thermal and Infra-Red methods. Sample preparation is important; adequate separation of binder from aggregate is required for instrumental as opposed to microscopic investigation methods. An ordered scheme of analysis can be developed and is presented in flowchart form.
It is difficult, and perhaps unwise, to analyse a mortar with only one method of characterisation. Corroboration of evidence of identification and quantification for mineralogical composition is best supported by a combination of methods, including chemical analysis methods. All methods of characterisation require qualified and experienced people to carry out the analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-769
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials and Structures
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry
  • Gypsum
  • Differential Thermal Analysis
  • Precipitate Calcium Carbonate
  • Mortar Sample


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