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Masonry

Repair of Portland Stone

Portland stone is amongst the most common historic building materials used throughout Ireland and the UK, featuring at a number of National monuments. Different repairs have been applied to Portland stone throughout history; some have fulfilled their role and eventually weathered over time while others have been detrimental to the substrate. There is a lack of precise and systematic data on the composition, properties and behaviour of these repairs.

The project will produce physically and chemically compatible, durable repairs for Portland Stone. It will produce repair mortars which will be tested in the laboratory to guarantee that they do no release harmful by-products or cause mechanical damage. The repairs are evaluated with respect to durability. Analytical techniques will include petrographic microscopy, X-Ray diffraction and Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis. Mechanical and hygric properties are tested according to the relevant European standards specifically focusing on adhesion. The project will provide suitable repairs for Portland stone and similar materials. This will assist decision making by the State Architects on repair materials and techniques.

The project contributes to the preservation of historic buildings for future generations. It initially focuses on the Portland Stone at the dome of the Four Courts. However, results can be applicable to other historic buildings which reflect history, tradition and identity and are of strategic importance to society and the economy.

Project coordinator: Associate Prof. Sara Pavia. Funded by: IRCSET. Partners and sponsors: Office of Public Works (OPW).