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Friday, May 31 • 9:00am - 9:15am
(Architecture) Deformation and Disintegration of North American Marbles as a Result of Thermal Stress

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Stone, especially marble, has been a building material since the dawn of civilization. As technologies and tastes have changed over time, so has its use. During the middle of the twentieth century thin panels of marble, ranging from 20-50mm, started to appear as exterior façade cladding on structures around the world. One of the inherent risks involved with this construction method is the potential for thermal deformation.

Marble, geologically speaking, is composed of calcite, dolomite, or a combination of the two. While both are similar in composition, they often perform very differently in response to external stimuli such as thermal cycling. In fact, deformation and disintegration instigated by thermal expansion and contraction differ greatly between specific marble types. The extent of which is completely dependent on the constituent mineralogy and physical characteristics such as grain size, boundary type, and orientation.

In 2000 the EU commissioned a collection of scientists, architects, and engineers working under the acronym TEAM (Testing and Assessment of Marble and Limestone) to create a report detailing the mechanisms behind thermal deformation potential as well as to develop standards for differentiating between marble that is susceptible to bowing and marble that is not. For obvious reasons the report largely focused on marbles originating from Europe. Little extensive scientific analysis of the effects of repeated thermal cycles on North American marbles, more specifically Tuckahoe, Colorado, Vermont, Alabama, and Georgia marbles, has been published.

Over the course of several months, disk samples from each marble type, approximately 40 mm in diameter and of varying thicknesses, will be subjected to repetitive heating and cooling cycles via a QUV accelerated weathering apparatus in both wet and dry conditions. Both before and after the samples are subjected to thermal cycling they will be measured in three directional planes (X,Y, and Z), tested for biaxial flexure strength and examined through petrographic analysis.

Considering these marble types vary greatly in both physical characteristics as well as mineralogical composition, the potential for thermal deformation and disintegration between them could likely be just as dissimilar.


Charles Thompson

Student, Columbia University

Friday May 31, 2013 9:00am - 9:15am EDT
JW Marriott 103-104 19 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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