Earth-based plasters: the influence of clay mineralogy

José Lima, Paulina Faria, António Santos Silva

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Earth-based mortars have been used all over the world since ancient times, in an extensive range of building types, from vernacular architecture to monuments. Plastering is one of the most common current applications of earth-based mortars, as for earthen-building conservation or contemporary architecture. Raw earth is a very diverse natural raw material, and clay minerals play a key role on plaster properties, being responsible for its setting process and the capability of balancing the indoor hygrometric conditions of buildings, which have strong benefits on energy saving for comfort and health of inhabitants and building conservation. For this study three mortars were produced with different clayish earths to assess the influence of clay mineralogy. Mortars characterizations confirmed that clay mineralogy drives important plaster properties, like vapour adsorption, drying shrinkage, and also have significant influence on mechanical resistance, dry abrasion and thermal conductivity. Within the studied mortars illitic clayish earth stands outs as more adequate for earth-base plasters, with balanced linear drying shrinkage, mechanical resistance, dry abrasion and vapour adsorption.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRILEM Pro130
EditorsJosé Ignacio Álvarez, José María Fernández, Íñigo Navarro, Adrián Durán, Rafael Sirera
Place of PublicationParis, France
PublisherRILEM Publications SARL
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-35158-222-0
ISBN (Print)978-2-35158-221-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event5th Historic Mortars Conference - Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
Duration: 19 Jun 201921 Jun 2019
Conference number: 5

Publication series

NameRILEM Proceedings
PublisherRILEM Publications SARL


Conference5th Historic Mortars Conference
Abbreviated titleHMC2019
Internet address


  • Clayish Earth
  • Montmorilonitic Clay
  • Kaolinitic Clay
  • Ilithic Clay
  • Mortar
  • Shrinkage
  • Hygroscopicity


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