New polymer-based treatments for the prevention of damage by salt crystallization in stone
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Salt damageSodium sulfateDisjoining pressureHydroxyapatiteCalcite dissolutionBiopolymersSalt crystallization test
Andreotti, S., Franzoni, E., Ruiz-Agudo, E., Scherer, G. W., Fabbri, P., Sassoni, E., & Rodriguez-Navarro, C. (2019). New polymer-based treatments for the prevention of damage by salt crystallization in stone. Materials and Structures, 52(1), 17.
SponsorshipThis research has also been funded by the Spanish Government (Grants CGL2015-70642-R, CGL2015-73103-EXP), the University of Granada (‘‘Unidad Científica de Excelencia’’ UCE-PP2016-05), the Junta de Andalucía (P11-RNM-7550), and the research group RNM-179 of the Junta de Andalucía.
Salt crystallization can produce severe damage in porous stones, with a dramatic impact on cultural heritage conservation. Such damage is related to the fact that repulsive forces arise between the salt crystals and the pore wall, generating a disjoining pressure that frequently exceeds the tensile strength of stone. In this paper, new treatments are proposed, aimed at preventing salt damage by depositing a thin layer of polymeric coatings over the stone’s pore surfaces. These coating are expected to change the surface chemistry, eliminating the repulsion between the growing crystals and the pore wall and hence the development of the disjoining pressure. Several biopolymers were tested on these substrates: silica glass, calcite, and calcite subjected to a pre-treatment with diammonium hydrogen phosphate (DAP), aimed at preventing calcite dissolution and acting as an anchoring substrate for the polymer coating. Selected polymer treatments were applied to porous Globigerina limestone samples, which were subjected to crystallization tests with sodium sulfate, obtaining promising results (i.e., significant reduction in stone damage), especially when the polymers were applied after the DAP treatment.