Mineralogical, Textural and Physical Characterisation to Determine Deterioration Susceptibility of Irulegi Castle Lime Mortars (Navarre, Spain)

Materials (Basel). 2019 Feb 15;12(4):584. doi: 10.3390/ma12040584.


Archaeological lime mortars from the Tower Keep and West perimeter wall of Irulegi Castle (Navarre, Spain) were analysed to determine susceptibility to deterioration. Chemical, mineralogical, textural and physical characterisation was performed by different tests and multianalysis techniques in order to determine the intrinsic features of the original historical mortars at the castle. Samples from the Tower Keep are more prone to deteriorate compared with the West perimeter wall due to high water absorption capacity and high porosity. A high degree of pore interconnection, high desorption index and the presence of high pore volume in the 0.01 to 1 µm size range affect the mortar durability since pores retain water longer inside the mortar. Local environment conditions with persistent annual rainfall, high humidity and temperature variations contribute to the decay process of the original mortar. Characterisation of historical mortars not only allows better understanding of susceptibility to deterioration but also helps the design of compatible and durable repair mortar for future interventions on historical heritage. Compatibility of new materials with the historical mortar will be ensured by studying mortar characteristics and properties.

Keywords: deterioration; durability; hydric behaviour; lime mortar; mineralogy; pore system; texture.