Hydric behavior of earth materials and the effects of their stabilization with cement or lime: Study on repair mortars for historical rammed earth structures

Maria Idália Gomes, Teresa Diaz Gonçalves, Paulina Faria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Earthen building materials bear interesting environmental advantages and are the most appropriate to conserve historical earth constructions. To improve mechanical properties, these materials are often stabilized with cement or lime, but the impact of the stabilizers on the water transport properties, which are also critical, has been very rarely evaluated. The researchers have tested four earth-based repair mortars applied on three distinct and representative rammed earth surfaces. Three mortars are based on earth collected from rammed earth buildings in south of Portugal and the fourth mortar is based on a commercial clayish earth. The main objective of the work was over the commercial earth mortar, applied stabilized and not stabilized on the three rammed earth surfaces to repair, to assess the influence of the stabilizers. The other three earth mortars (not stabilized) were applied on each type of rammed earth, representing the repair only made with local materials. The four unstabilized earth materials depicted nonlinear dependence on t1/2 during capillary suction. This behavior was probably caused by clay swelling. Stabilization with any of the four tested binders enabled the linear dependence of t1/2 expected from Washburn's equation, probably because the swelling did not take place in this case. However, the stabilizers also significantly increased the capillary suction and the capillary porosity of the materials. This means that, in addition to increasing the carbon footprint, stabilizers, like cement and lime, have functional disadvantages that discourage their use in repair mortars for raw earth construction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04016041
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Volume28
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Binder
  • Rammed earth
  • Repair mortar
  • Stabilization
  • Water transport

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