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Assessmentandevaluationofinorganic,calcitebasedtreatment,inthe

conservationofearthenculturalmaterials
1.

Introduction

Earthenarchitectureisoneoftheoldestformsofconstructionandiscomposedof
structuresmadefromunfiredearthenmaterials,includingadobe(sundriedmud
brick),rammedearth(pis),andotherearthencomponentsthatdifferfromculture
tocultureandregiontoregion.Notonlyareearthenmaterialsusedastheprimary
structuralelement,buttheyarealsousedforrenderingorfordecoratedsurfaces
(Balderrama2001).Althoughthesestructuresarecommonlyperceivedprimarilyas
avernacularformofconstructionmeaningthattheyarebuiltwithouttheinputof
adesignprofessionalandbyuseoflocalresources(AvraniandGuillaud2008),the
varietyofearthenstructuresrangesfromsimpleformstovast,monumentalsitesof
highcomplexity.
InAustralia,earthenconstructiontechniqueswereusedduringthecolonialperiod
asearthwasfreetouseanditsuseasabuildingmaterialwasnotdifficulttolearn,
thoughthesewerenotusedtotheextentorimportanceasotherhousebuilding
techniquesusingstone,brick,woodorsheetiron(Connah1994).Theprinciple
formsofearthconstructionnotedinthearchaeologicalrecord,werewattleand
daub,pisandadobe,withpisbeingthemostwidelyused.Pisconsistedofloam
mudbeingrammedintoawoodenformworkthatwasmovedalongthewall,bitby
bitandlayerbylayer,asthematerialdriedandhardened(Connah1994).This
techniquerequiredcertaintypesofsoilandsuitedadrierenvironment,andifthe
buildingcouldbemadesuitablymoistureproof,theycouldlastalongtime(Connah
1994).However,oncethesebuildingslosttheirroofs,houseswithearthwalls
rapidlydeterioratedandassuch,theamountofarchaeologicalevidencefortheir
useiscertainlyunderrepresented(Connah1994).
Despitethewidespreaduseofunfiredearthenmaterialinconstruction,itisalsoone
ofthemostvulnerable.In2011,over10%oftheUNESCOWorldHeritageproperties
incorporatedearthenstructures,butmanyofthesesignificantsitesareincreasingly
threatenedbynaturalandhumanimpactsaboutaquarterofthesitesoftheWorld
HeritageListinDangerareofearthenconstruction(WHC2015).Overtime,
decliningexpertiseintraditionalbuildingmethods,lackofregularmaintenance,and
poormanagementofresourceshasledtotherapiddeteriorationofanumberof
earthenstructuresincludingarchaeologicalandhistoricsites(Rainer2008).
1.2

Deteriorationmechanisms

Thegeneralfactorscausingdeteriorationofearthenarchitecture,forthemostpart,
wereinvestigatedanddefinedintheliteraturefromthe1970sand1980s,
predominantlybyHughes(1983),whoconductedfurtherresearchonthecorrelation
betweencausesandsymptomsofdeteriorationandclassifiedanumberofdecay
problemswhichoccurredinsoilconstructedwalls,thesebeing:
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1. Poor,inadequateorchangingmaterialproperties.
2. Poorbuildingtechnique,structuralperformanceandinadequaterepair.
3. Externalclimaticconditions.
Hughes,R.E(1986),furtheredthistypologyandstressedtheneedforanindepth
analysisofconditionsthattookthesefactorsintoaccount:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Theenvironmentonamacroandmicroscale.
Thematerialsonamacroandmicroscale.
Thearchitecturalformanditshistory.
Thebuildingtechnique.
Thestructuralsystem.
Theuseandreuse,suchasforeseeablechangesinthefuture.

Hughesalsoemphasisedthatsuccessfultreatmentreliesoncharacterisingand
thoroughlyunderstandingtheprocessesthatgenerateactivedeteriorationand
structuraldeformation.Repairingthevisibleevidenceofdamagewhilstnothaving
addressedthemechanismsofdeteriorationwasnotofvalueandcouldleadtomore
harmoveralongerperiodoftime.VanBalen(1990)alsopointedoutthe
importanceofanalysingthevalue,orsignificanceofthearchitecturalobjectfor
conservation,agrowingareainconservationphilosophy.Hismethodologyforthe
conservationandrestorationofearthenbuildings,includedlookingatthe:

studyofthephysicalenvironment
studyofthehistoricalvalues
studyofthematerials
conditionofthebuilding
evaluationofthearchitecturaltypology
architecturalimportance

Bylookingattheseelements,theconservationtreatmentorapproachcanensure
thatrespectisgiventothesignificantfeaturesoraspectsofthebuildingorsite.
Generally,thedeteriorationofearthenarchitecturetypicallytendstomanifestat
thetopofthewall,whereerosionoccursiftheroofisnotprotectedbyanadequate
rooforshelter,andatthebottomofthewall,ifthereiswaterpenetration/
infiltration,risingdampandsaltsfromthegroundthatmaymigrateintothewallat
thebase(CRATerreandDoat1983).Broadlyspeaking,thereareanumberof
specificintrinsic(suchasmaterialcompositionorconstructiontype),andextrinsic
(externalfactorssuchaswind,water,andotherenvironmentalandcontextual
factors)deteriorationfactors,oftenincombinationwitheachotherthataffects
earthenarchitecture.Therehavebeenanumberofpaperswrittenonthe
deteriorationmechanismsofearthenstructures:HoubenandGuillard(1994)
describegeneralpathologiesofdeteriorationwithafocusonnewconstruction;
Warren(1999)addressesagenciesoffailureandidentificationwithanemphasison
historicstructures.Crosby(1983)morespecificallyaddressesthedeteriorationof
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earthinthecontextofconservation.Hispaperprovidesasummaryofthemost
commontypesofdeteriorationandtheirprimarycauses.Rainer(2008)summarises
theseas:

Buildingmaterialsandconstruction
Buildinglocation
Buildingevolutionanduse
Water
Salts
Biodeterioration
Weathering
Atmosphere(pollution)
Humanactivity

Variationsinthechemicalandgeologicalpropertiesofsoils,aswellasthemethods
usedtopreparethesoilforuseasabuildingmaterialareallinfluentialin
determiningtheworkingpropertiesandperformanceofearthenbasedmaterials.
Thesefactorscoupledwiththeweatheringandagingofearthenmaterialsovertime
ultimatelydeterminetheconservationconditionoftheearthenconstruction.The
heterogeneityofearthenmaterialsandconstructionsystemsmakesitdifficultto
categoriseandcharacterisethecomplexdecayprocessessoastoformulatea
generalconclusiononthedeteriorationandsubsequenttreatmentofthesesites
(Rainer2008).
Advancesinscientificequipmentandresearchprotocolshavealsoadvancedour
understandingofthedeteriorationmechanismsofearthenarchitecture,however,a
strongerlinkbetweenfieldstudiesandlaboratoryanalysisisrequiredinorderto
ascertainthedifferencesbetweennewandhistoric/agedearthenmaterials,with
morefieldworkconductedtostudythedeteriorationofsuchsitesinsitu.
1.3

Conservation

Earthenstructuresdeserveparticularattentionintermsofconservationand
maintenanceastheavailabilityandeconomicqualityofthematerialmeanitbears
greatpotentialtocontributetopovertyalleviationandsustainabledevelopment
(WHCn.d).Mostconservationinterventionsforearthenmaterialsarebroadly
categorisedintodecoratedandnondecoratedmaterials.Thisresearchwillfocus
primarilyontheconservationapproachestonondecoratedearthenmaterials,
includingalltheoriginalcomponentsofanearthenconstruction,suchas,adobe,
claylump,cob,rammedearth,daubandanyassociatedmortar,andexcludesplain
orpaintedoriginalplasters,renders,basreliefs,highreliefs,andsoforthwhich
requiresotherspecialistintervention.
Conservationinterventionsforearthenstructurestypicallyincludecleaningand
desalination,theuseofgrouts,consolidants,adhesivesandsurfacecoatingsfor
treatingoriginalmaterials.Whatisofgreatimportancepriortodevelopingan
appropriateandethicalconservationtreatmentisthecategorisationofthematerials
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usedinbuildingofthestructure.Thishasbeeneasiertodetermineinnewearthen
constructionwhere(Guillaud2008)hasidentifiedthefollowingpropertiesand
characteristicsassignificanttoperformance:

Particlesizedistribution
Plasticity(workabilityandwatercontent)
Cohesion
Compactability
Shrinkage
Porosity,permeability,andcapillarity(voidindices)
Erosionresistance
Chemistry
Mineralogy
Classification

However,littleresearchhasbeenundertakentodeterminethecorrelationofthe
abovepropertiestoperformanceinconservationapplications;norhastherebeen
significantinvestigationintoadditionalpropertiesthatinfluencebehavioraspartof
conservationinterventions(Guillard2008).Peronietal(1982)highlightthe
importanceofcompressivestrength,thermalexpansioncoefficients,porosityvalues
(voidsizeanddistribution),solublesaltscontent,permeabilitytowatervapourand
extractionofalkalinematerial.Thelimitedliteratureinthisareaalsosuggeststhat
inadditiontothecharacteristicsmentionedabove,thatthefollowingmaybe
relevanttoconservationapplications(Guillard2008):

Compressivestrength
Bendingstrength
Shearstrength
Hardness
Adherence(especiallyforrenders)
Expansionandcontractioncoefficients(freezingandthawing,thermal)

Whiletheseindicationsofpropertiesprovideaguidelineastowhattolookforwhen
developingaconservationmethodologysuitableforearthenarchitecture,no
systematicresearchhasbeenundertakentoidentifythepropertiesmostrelevantto
thedevelopmentofearthbasedconservationmaterialsandinterventions,andhow
theymightberelevantfromaperformancebasedperspective.
Intheconservationofearthenmaterials,consolidationisthemostwidelydiscussed
andstudiedtreatmentfornondecoratedearthenmaterials(Oliver2008).Water
andsolublesaltsareusuallythemainreasonbehindthegranulardisintegrationthat
consolidantsareusetotreat(Oliver2008).Whilehistoricorinhabitedearthen
structurescanbepartiallyprotectedfromthesedeteriorationmechanismsby
maintainingormodifyingroofs,foundations,anddrainagesystemsandbyrenewing
protectiveplastersorrenders,itisoftennotpossibletodosoforearthen
archaeologicalsiteswheretheseelementsmaybemissingorcompromised(Oliver
2008).Intheexposedandrelativelyuncontrolledenvironmentofanarchaeological
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site,thelongtermperformanceofaconsolidantishighlyvariableandsuccessful
treatmentisbasedonunderstandingthepropertiesoftheconsolidant,the
compositionandclaymineralogyoftheearthenmaterialandthedegreetowhich
thetreatedmaterialcanbeseparatedfromthecausesofdeterioration(Oliver
2008).
Consolidantsforearthenmaterialscanbegroupedintothreebroadcategories
basedonthechemicalcompositionoftherawmaterialsfromwhichtheendproduct
isderived:inorganics(alkalinesilicates),naturalorganics(plantmucilage),and
syntheticorganics(alkoxysilanes,acrylicresins,vinylacetatepolymers,epoxyresins,
polyurethanes)(Oliver2008).Outofthesethreecategories,syntheticorganic
consolidantsarethemostoftenproposedandusedtreatmentinearthen
architecturalstabilisation,andthereforethemostwidelypublishedintheliterature.
Ofthesyntheticorganicconsolidants,thealkoxysilanescometheclosestintermsof
anidealconsolidant(AlvaBalderramaandChiari1984and1987;Chiari1985and
2000;Warren1999).Usedwidelyintheconservationofstone,alkoxysilaneshave
beenusedasaconsolidantonearthenstructuressincethelate1960s(Oliver2008).
Twopropertiesmakealkoxysilanessuitableforuseasaconsolidantforearthen
structures:lowviscosityandtheirabilitytomakesiloxane(SiOSi)bonds.Low
viscositiesmeansthattheyarefluidliquidswhichcanpenetratethesoilmatrixand
siloxanebondsarerelativelystrong,possessthermalandoxidativestabilityand
resistcleavagebyultravioletsolarradiation(Wheeler2005).Additionally,
dependingontheirchemicalcomposition,theycanbeusedaseitherconsolidantsor
waterrepellents,orboth.Whilealkoxysilanesarecommonlydeemedthemost
effectivetreatmentduetotheireaseofuse,availability,relativelowcostand
consistentperformanceunderawidevarietyofconditionsandarethemost
compatiblewithearthenmaterials,theydonotalwaysproducethestrongest,
hardestormostweatherresistanceearths.Furthermore,therearemanyquestions
surroundingtheiruseinanoutdoorenvironment(FerronandMatero2011).
Inseekingalternativetreatmentsforthecommonproblemspresentedbyearthen
materialsusedinconstruction,thisresearchwillevaluateandassessthesuitability
ofinorganiccalcitebasedtreatmentsintheconsolidationandfixationofearthen
materials.
2.

SpecificAreaofIntendedResearch

Theaimofthisproposalistoevaluateandassessthesuitabilityofacommercially
availableinorganic,calcitebasedtreatment[CalciteInsituPrecipitationSystem
(CIPS)]inthestabilisationofearthenculturalmaterials.Workinginconjunctionwith
thedevelopersofthistreatmentsystem,theresearchwilluseearthenconstructions
ascasestudiestodesignlaboratoryinvestigationsthatwillexaminetheworking
propertiesandperformancecriteriaofthistreatmentaswellasexplorepotential
applicationmethodologiesforitsuseinconservation.

CIPSisapermeationgroutingsystemthatdeliversliquidcalciteintoanypermeable
andporousmaterial,suchassandorporousrock(CSIROpedia2015).Initially
investigatedforitspotentialuseincreatingstrongerfoundationsforoffshorebased
oilandgasminingplatforms,ithasalsobeenusedinotherusedinotherciviland
offshoreengineeringapplications,coastalprotection,environmentalprotection,
miningandmilitarylogistics(LithicAustralia2007).Thissystemisbasedonthein
situcrystallisationofthenaturallyoccurringmineralcementcalcite(CaCO3)froman
initiallynonparticulate,waterbased,nontoxicsolutionoflowviscosity(Lithic
Australia2007).Thecalcitereactsandcalcitecementisprecipitatedbetweenthe
soilgrains,consolidatingandstabilisingthesoilmatrix,whilstretainingtheporosity
ofthetreatedmaterial.Sinceonlyasmallamountofcalcitecementisprecipitated
betweenthesoilgrains,minimalalterationtothecolourandthetextureofthesoilis
made,yetwillnotbeeasilywashedout.Areascanberetreated,witheach
treatmentincreasingthestrengthofthematrix,withgenerally23treatments
sufficientformostapplicationsandcreatingastrengthbetween2MPaand5MPa
(CSIROpedia2015).
Theabovelistedproperties(aslistedinSearlsandWessel1995)makeitanexcellent
alternativechoiceintheconsolidationintheconservationofearthenmaterials,and
unliketheuseofalkoxysilanes,doesnotrequiretheuseofasolventcarrier,which
makesitlesstoxicandeasiertohandleinthefield.
3.

Keyresearchquestions

Thisprojectwilldevelopaninnovativeandalternativeapproachtotheconservation
ofearthenculturalmaterialsthroughtheinvestigationandevaluationofCIPSasa
methodofconsolidationbylookingatthesiteoftwominershutsatButchersGully,
Castlemaine,VictoriawhereCIPSwasappliedasaconsolidantin2005.
Thehuts,probablyoccupiedbyChineseminers,werediscoveredbyParksVictoria
(Bannear1993)anduncoveredbyarchaeologicalexcavation(Stannin2004)at
ButchersGullyintheMtAlexanderGoldfieldssouthofCastlemaineinCentral
Victoria(Price,BannearandJamieson2008).Thehutswereconstructedfromlocal
materialswhitequartzboulders,sandstoneandsiltstoneblockswithlocalmud
mortarbetweenthestonesandpiswallcoatings(Price,BannearandJamieson
2008).Somewallswereconstructedusingonlypispackedaroundverticaltree
branches.Thepisusedinthewallsisamixtureoflocalclayrichsoilandpebbles.
Onlythelowercoursesofthestoneandpiswallsremaintypically0.30.8mhigh
and0.30.4mthick(Price,BannearandJamieson2008).Duetoweatheringand
erosionoftheouterlayer,thatis,thesiltstoneblocks,mudmortarandpiswall
coatings,consolidationwasrequiredtostrengthentheoutersurfacesofthewalls.
CIPSwasappliedusingahandheldspraytothesurfacesofthewallswherethefluid
wasthensuckedinsidebycapillaryforcesbeforebeingresprayedrepeatedlyforup
totwohours,oruntilthereweresignsthatnofurtherfluidwasbeingabsorbed
(Price,BannearandJamieson2008).Afterspraying,thewallswereleftundisturbed
andnofurtheractiontookplace.Thesitewasreexaminedin2006and2007,with
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erosiontestsindicatingthatCIPShadincreasedthestrengthoftheoutersurfacesof
thewallsandthereforereducedtheerosionrate.
However,questionsstillremainaboutthelongtermaffectsoftheapplicationof
CIPStothewallsatthissiteandtheuseofitasaconsolidantintheconservationof
earthenmaterials.Thekeyresearchquestionis:CanCIPSbeusedasaneffective
consolidantforearthenculturalmaterialsandsites?
Thereareseveralaimsthatwillbeinvestigatedinconjunctionwiththiskeyresearch
question,thesebeing:
a) Investigatetheeffectphysical,chemicalandbiologicalthatCIPShason
varioussoiltypes.
b) InvestigatetheeffectthattheapplicationofCIPShashadonthesoilatthe
archaeologicalsitelocatedatButchersGully,Victoria.
c) InvestigatethesuitabilityofaCIPStreatmenttoothertypeofsoiland
earthenbuildingmaterials.
d) Discoverifitcanbeappliedeffectivelyinsituwhichwillalsoleadtothe
developmentandevaluationofapplicationmethodology.
e) Developmethodsofevaluationinregardstotheeffectivenessofthe
treatmentinsitutoassessperformanceovertime.
4.

Methodology

Ithasbeenclearlydemonstratedintheliteraturethatconsolidantscanworkwellin
awiderangeofsituationsandinavarietyofcombinations,butresearchprojectsare
difficulttocomparebecausethesamebaselineinformationisnotprovided,
treatmentmethodsarenotadequatelydescribed,andevaluationcriteriaand
methodsvarywidely(Oliver2008).Thisprojectwilllookatcreatingastandardised
setofresearchguidelinesandtheimplementationofthemastheysuiteachsiteso
thatdiverseresearchprojectscanbemademorecomparableandsomoreusefulin
thefield.
InordertoascertainwhetherornotCIPSisaviablealternativeasaconsolidantin
theconservationofearthenmaterials,researchwillbeconductedinthelaboratory,
aswellasinthefield.
4.1

Laboratorywork

Preliminaryanalysiswillneedtobeconductedonthecategorisationand
characterisationofthesoilfromButchersGully,bothbeforeandafterthe
applicationofCIPS.AsdeterminedbyGuillard(2008),samplesfromthesitewillbe
takenandinvestigatedfor:
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Particlesizedistribution
Plasticity(workabilityandwatercontent)
Cohesion
Compactability
Shrinkage
Porosity,permeability,andcapillarity(voidindices)
Erosionresistance
Chemistry
Mineralogy
Classification

ThisdatawillbenecessaryintheevaluationofCIPSasaconsolidantandits
effectivenessonthebasisofthechemicalandphysicalpropertiesofthesoil.This
willtheninformtheexperimentaldesignandassistinunderstandingand
interpretingobservationsandresults.
Asthepreexistingconditionsoftheearthenmaterial,themicroclimateinand
arounditandtheconditionsofapplicationduringtreatmentalsoimpacttheinitial
effectivenessandlongtermdurabilityoftheconsolidant,thesefactorswillneedto
beinvestigated.Differentapplicationmethodswillbeevaluatedandcomparedin
orderforprotocolstobedevelopedinevaluatingtheoptimalapplication
methodologyforasuccessfultreatmentonearthenmaterials.Successivere
applicationmethodsandtheirresultswillalsobeinvestigated.
Erosionrateswillalsobeassessedonthesamplesaftertreatmenttodeterminethe
longtermeffectivenessandsuitabilityofCIPSasaconsolidant.
4.2

Fieldwork

InsitutreatmenttestingofCIPSwillalsoberequiredtodetermineitspracticalityand
effectivenessinanexternalenvironmenttothelaboratory.Thiswillinclude
researchingandinvestigatingthefactorsofdeteriorationsuchasbuildinglocation,
buildingevolutionanduse,water,salts,biodeterioration,weathering,pollutionand
humanactivityaffectthesite.
Thevariousapplicationmethodologiesinvestigatedinthelaboratorywillalsobe
conductedinsitutodeterminetheoptimalapplicationunderdifferentexternal
factorsandcircumstances.
Erosionrateswillalsobeassessedonthephysicalstructuresaftertheapplicationof
CIPSandundervariousexternalconditions.
4.3

Developmentofprotocols

Thelaboratoryandfieldworkwillbothproduceresultswhichcanbeusedto
developstandardisedresearchguidelinesforevaluatingthesuccessfultreatmentof
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earthenmaterials.Protocolsfortheongoingtreatmentandmonitoringofthe
treatedwillalsobedevelopedbasedontheassessmentofthephysicalstructures
aftertreatment.

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