Experimental research on salt contamination procedures and methods for assessment of the salt distribution

Cristiana Nunes*, Asel Maria Aguilar Sanchez, Sebastiaan Godts, Davide Gulotta, Ioannis Ioannou, Barbara Lubelli, Beatriz Menendez, Noushine Shahidzadeh, Zuzana Slížková, Magdalini Theodoridou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


The RILEM TC ASC-271 is developing a new laboratory test to assess the durability of porous building materials to salt crystallisation. The test encompasses two phases: salt accumulation and damage propagation. This paper focuses on designing a procedure for the accumulation phase; this is considered successful when salts crystallise at the material's evaporative surface (common situation observed on site) without the occurrence of damage. Two procedures were developed and tested on two limestones with different porosity: (1) capillary absorption of a salt solution followed by drying, and (2) continuous capillary absorption. Sodium chloride or sodium sulphate solutions were used. Several methods for assessing the salt distribution were employed: ultrasonic pulse velocity, drilling/scratching resistance, hygroscopic moisture content, ion chromatography, scanning electron microscopy, and micro X-ray fluorescence. The results enabled the selection of the most effective protocol for the salt accumulation phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123862
Number of pages17
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Porous materials
  • Salt accumulation
  • Salt crystallisation test
  • Salt distribution


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