Materiales de Construcción, Vol 54, No 276 (2004)

Intrinsic factors determining the physical behaviour and durability of the Miocene sandstones used to build the Zaghouan-Carthage aqueduct (Tunis)

K. Zoghlami
Departament de Geología, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain

D. Gómez-Gras
Departament de Geología, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain

M. P. de Luxán
Instituto de Ciencias de la Construcción Eduardo Torroja (CSIC), Spain


The present paper addresses the relationship between the intrinsic factors, physical behaviour and durability of Miocene Age sandstone used to build Tunisian Heritage Monuments, and more specifically the Zaghouan-Carthage aqueduct. A petrography study (optical microscopy and mercury intrusion porosi metry) was conducted to characterize the porous system of the rock. Stone hydric behaviour was also determined by finding vacuum saturation, desorption, capillary and water vapor transmission. Finally, mechanical strength (compressive strength, abrasion resistance) and durability (via accelerated sodium sulfate crystallization ageing) were also found. The results obtained were indicative of good hydric performance due to the macroporous nature of the stone and the connectivity of its porous system. This rock was also found to have very low mechanical strength due to its scant lithification, making it particularly susceptible to salt weathering. It was also observed to be highly resistant to chemical alteration, given the absence of chemically unstable minerals in its composition. The durability of the material was consequently found to depend directly on the presence or absence of salts in the monument.


sandstone; pétrographic characteristics; durability; Zaghouan-Carthage aqueduct

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Copyright (c) 2004 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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