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Larsen, P K (2007) The salt decay of medieval bricks at a vault in Brarup Church, Denmark. Environmental Geology, 52 (2). pp. 375-383. ISSN 09430105

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This paper presents an investigation of the decay of bricks in the chancel vault of Brarup Church located close to the Baltic Sea at the island of Falster in Denmark. The aim of the work was to study a peculiar phenomenon in order to prescribe appropriate treatment. Although protected by a lime plaster, some bricks were pulverized up to 50 mm deep from the topside. The decay occurred in a random pattern over the structure, with undamaged bricks positioned next to deteriorated bricks. The brick structure was investigated by Mercury Intrusion Porosiometry. All bricks had a majority of pores in the range 1–10 μm, but the decayed bricks also had a fraction of pores with a diameter less than 100 nm. The difference may be due to a lower firing temperature, or it may be a consequence of the salt decay. Salt analysis proved that the deteriorated bricks were contaminated with sodium chloride, which could have degraded the brick structure. However, the powdering of the bricks may be caused by the precipitation of gypsum, which was found in the brick powder but not in the deteriorated brick itself. According to calculations with the computer program RUNSALT, the precipitation of gypsum is much influenced by the presence of sodium chloride. The gypsum precipitates due to changes in temperature between 0 and 30°C and variations in relative humidity between 75 and 95%. Seasonal climatic changes in the attic were measured to cover this interval. Perhaps sodium chloride acted as a catalyst that facilitated the accumulation and precipitation of gypsum at the topside of the bricks. A sacrificial plaster, which is the traditional treatment for salt contaminated structures, would not prevent such decay.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Church; Salt damage; Masonry; Brick; Vault; Environmental monitoring
Subjects: ?? Salt ??
?? case ??
English > Damage functions > Salt damage
Depositing User: Anna Samuelsson
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2008 09:37
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2017 13:00

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