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01.03.2013 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2013

Environmental Earth Sciences 6/2013

The influence of environmental conditions on weathering of porous rocks by gypsum: a non-destructive study using acoustic emissions

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 6/2013
Autoren:
Beatriz Menéndez, Christian David

Abstract

Gypsum is one of the most universally distributed salts in weathered materials but little is known about the influence of environmental conditions on the damage generated by gypsum in stones. To quantify the damage induced by gypsum crystallization acoustic emission techniques are employed to record the elastic energy released during salt crystallization cycles in a limestone. Different environmental conditions have been established during the cooling and drying periods in traditional salt crystallization cycles. During drying two different temperatures (50 and 25 °C) and relative humidity (low, 25 % at 50 °C and 65 % at 25 °C, and high, 99 %) have been applied. The acoustic emission signals are filtered by a frequency analysis in order to eliminate signals corresponding to external noise or artifacts. Our experimental results show that acoustic emission activity is higher under high relative humidity conditions than under low relative humidity conditions, and also higher when drying at 50 °C than at room temperature. Microscopic observations on the weathered samples indicated that under high relative humidity conditions and at room temperature, gypsum crystallizes not on the sample surface, like in the other samples, but deeper in the inner part of the sample, in good agreement with previously published data. We show that using acoustic emissions as usually done in rock mechanics is also very useful in the study of stone decay and weathering processes in the laboratory.

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