Bowing and expansion of natural stone panels: marble and limestone testing and assessment


  • Katarina Malaga Technical Research Institute of Sweden
  • Björn Shouernborg Technical Research Institute of Sweden
  • Bent Grelk Ramboll



bowing, expansion, cladding, marble, durability


Natural stone has been used as a building material for centuries. In the past, load bearing members were made of entirely of stone, but in the last 50 years new processing techniques have made the production and use of thin facade cladding a profitable venture. Unfortunately however, marble facades on buildings in Europe and elsewhere have undergone severe deterioration. The EC-financed TEAM project (2000-2005) studied the bowing observed on marble facades in both cold and warm climates. TEAM’s main objectives were to understand and explain the expansion, bowing, and strength loss mechanisms governing the decay of marble- and limestone-clad facades, and to draft new European standards to prevent the use of marble and limestone poorly suited to outdoor cladding. A survey of some 200 buildings afforded a clear picture of the geographical, geological and climatic scope of the problem. Detailed case studies of six buildings resulted in a facade assessment methodology that included a monitoring system and risk assessment. Both laboratory and field research was conducted on almost 100 different types of stone from different countries and in place in different climates. The outcome was the determination of the decay mechanisms and critical factors. Two test methods and respective precision statements, one for bowing and the other for irreversible thermal expansion in high humidity conditions, were prepared for submission to CEN TC 246.


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How to Cite

Malaga, K., Shouernborg, B., & Grelk, B. (2008). Bowing and expansion of natural stone panels: marble and limestone testing and assessment. Materiales De Construcción, 58(289-290), 97–112.



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