A key aspect in understanding how historic building and monuments fail, and how to design effective conservation solutions lies in active engagement with the knowledge base of conservation science research. Conferences on different aspects of the conservation of buildings and places provide an opportunity to look beyond the practical problems encountered on individual projects, to consider fundamental issues and the challenges and discoveries of other researchers from around the world, and also allows me to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology, technique and practice.
The 13th International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone will be held in the University of the West of Scotland in September. This paper on granite and salt decay combined two of my research interests – how culturally significant stone surfaces deteriorate, and the deterioration processes found underwater, in the inter-tidal zone and immediately adjacent to the high tide mark can differ so dramatically from what we ‘normally’ find on buildings and monuments on dry land.
The research was based on the examination and analysis of stone from 88 monuments on the east, west and south coasts of Ireland, using non-destructive visual assessment techniques, in situ XRF analysis of stone surfaces, and detailed examination of stone using petrography, ion chromatography and the scanning electron microscope. Continue reading