Effect of mixed in crystallization modifiers on the resistance of lime mortar against NaCl and Na2SO4 crystallization

Sanne J.C. Granneman*, Barbara Lubelli, Rob P.J. van Hees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Weathering of porous building materials caused by the crystallization of soluble salts is a ubiquitous problem in the built cultural heritage. Especially lime-based mortars are susceptible to salt decay, due to both their bimodal pore size distribution and low mechanical strength. The addition of crystallization modifiers to mortars during mixing may confer them an improved resistance to salt decay. In this research, lime-based mortars additivated with ferrocyanide or borax (modifiers for sodium chloride and sodium sulfate, respectively) were prepared. An accelerated salt crystallization test was carried out to assess the effect of the modifiers on the salt resistance of the mortars. The development of damage was assessed by visual and photographical observations and by quantifying the salt and material loss. At the end of the test, SEM observations were performed on the surface and cross-section of the specimens, to study the effect of the modifiers on the crystallization habit of the salts. The ferrocyanide and borax additivated mortars showed a considerably improved durability with respect to salt crystallization damage. Both modifiers altered the growth morphology of the salt crystals inside the pores of the mortars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Crystallization modifiers
  • Lime mortar
  • Salt crystallization
  • Salt damage
  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium sulfate


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