This paper presents new petro-chemical data on some typical mortars found in many buildings in the historiccity centre of Catania (Eastern Sicily). Extensively used in the architecture of the city from the second half of the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, these mortars are characterised by a particular aggregatelocally known as ‘‘agghiara’’ or ‘‘ghiara’’. This is the product of thermal transformation induced by the heating undergone by palaeo-soils, originally rich in organic matter,covered by lava flows, which change their colour to reddish nuances. The volcanic origin of ghiara is a peculiarfeature of the Etnean area. Mixed with lime, it gives to mortars an intense reddish colour, as well as hydraulicproperties, which are comparable with those of the historically used pozzolana. This work aimed at complete characterisation of these ghiara mortars, for providing information on several important technological aspects. In order to get information on used raw materials, sampling of some ancient underground quarries, located both in the historic city centre and at the periphery, was also performed. Results led to the complete characterisation of theselected ghiara mortars and yielded information on some technological features and the composition of both newly formed and secondary phases, these latter due to alteration processes. The hydraulic properties of mortars have been related to the occurrence of amorphous phases within the ghiara aggregate, which were identified by means of SEMmorphological observations. These phases, formed during the ‘‘firing’’ process of palaeo-soils, react with lime producing hydraulic compounds (C–S–H and C–A–H), which are responsible for the mortars durability.

Technological study of "ghiara" mortars from the historical city centre of Catania (Eastern Sicily, Italy) and petro-chemical characterisation of raw materials

BELFIORE, CRISTINA MARIA;MAZZOLENI, Paolo;PEZZINO, Antonino;VICCARO, MARCO
2010-01-01

Abstract

This paper presents new petro-chemical data on some typical mortars found in many buildings in the historiccity centre of Catania (Eastern Sicily). Extensively used in the architecture of the city from the second half of the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, these mortars are characterised by a particular aggregatelocally known as ‘‘agghiara’’ or ‘‘ghiara’’. This is the product of thermal transformation induced by the heating undergone by palaeo-soils, originally rich in organic matter,covered by lava flows, which change their colour to reddish nuances. The volcanic origin of ghiara is a peculiarfeature of the Etnean area. Mixed with lime, it gives to mortars an intense reddish colour, as well as hydraulicproperties, which are comparable with those of the historically used pozzolana. This work aimed at complete characterisation of these ghiara mortars, for providing information on several important technological aspects. In order to get information on used raw materials, sampling of some ancient underground quarries, located both in the historic city centre and at the periphery, was also performed. Results led to the complete characterisation of theselected ghiara mortars and yielded information on some technological features and the composition of both newly formed and secondary phases, these latter due to alteration processes. The hydraulic properties of mortars have been related to the occurrence of amorphous phases within the ghiara aggregate, which were identified by means of SEMmorphological observations. These phases, formed during the ‘‘firing’’ process of palaeo-soils, react with lime producing hydraulic compounds (C–S–H and C–A–H), which are responsible for the mortars durability.
2010
Ghiara mortars; Catania; Sicily; Aggregate; Amorphous phases; Hydraulic properties
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/6771
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