Mortar Analysis



Analyzing Samples of Old/Historic Mortar

It is often necessary in masonry repairs or additions to test or analyze samples of the original mortar for matching the existing masonry. This process is called mortar analysis.

Mortar Analysis Methods

Mortar analysis is the process of analyzing samples of mortar to determine the physical properties or composition of mortar. This is done through a variety of different types of testing. Some of the most common mortar analysis methods are:  Mortar compressive strength analysis, Acid digestion mortar analysis, Spectrographic mortar analysis, and the analysis of sand used in mortar; all of these tests are used for mortar matching, or determining a formula that details the ratio of binder materials and sand to produce a matching repair mortar. In new construction or repair, cube testing of mortar samples taken from a batch is used to confirm properties about a suggested mortar and confirm the quality of mortar for the project's use.

Mortar Compressive Strength Analysis

Mortar compressive strength analysis is used in many types of mortar analysis. By testing the compressive strength or crushing pressure of mortar samples, you can confirm mortar types and check the quality of a mortar for its intended use. Compressive strength testing is used in many mortar analysis methods for this purpose. The most used method of this mortar analysis is the astm c109 crushing analysis that requires a sample of mortar to be two inches on at least one side and the crusher to allow both top and bottom plates to pivot. This method provides better accuracy; however, smaller samples are often tested.

Mortar Composition Analysis

The two most common methods for mortar composition analysis are acid digestion and spectrographic mortar analysis. Both methods of analysis have their limitations and drawbacks, and both mortar analysis methods are limited to their interpretation of results. For more information about this, you can read the "preservation brief number 2" by the National Parks Service or nps.

Acid digestion mortar analysis

Acid digestion mortar analysis is the most commonly used method for testing mortar due to its high quality of results and low costs. It generally costs around $350 depending on the testing laboratory, and can identify most aspects of a mortar sample. The acid digestion mortar analysis is limited in its ability to identify natural cement, however, the N6324 mortar analysis method seems to compensate this limitation by collecting more data for the interpretations.

Spectrographic mortar analysis

Spectrographic mortar analysis is commonly recommended for testing the composition of mortars that are likely to contain natural cement due to its accuracy in identifying the natural cement. This type of analysis is also called petrographic analysis, and is considerably more costly than the acid digestion method for testing the composition of mortars. Spectrographic analysis is the method used in the astm c1324 mortar analysis, and is also sometimes used in the analysis of sand to determine the particle types.

Mortar Sand Analysis

The sand used in a mortar directly effects the properties of the mortar. The color and particle sizes change the color and texture of the mortar; while the sizes, shapes, and types of aggregate change the compressive strength and water permeability of the mortar. Most of these details about the sand used in a mortar can be identified through a sand sieve analysis of the aggregate; however, for more detailed information about the types of particles in the aggregate, you may need a spectrographic analysis of the sand. Again, the spectrographic analysis is going to cost considerably more than a sieve analysis of the sand.

Choosing the Right Mortar Analysis

The purpose of mortar analysis may be quality control, determining the composition and formula of a mortar sample, or for matching mortar for use in repair. You will want to be sure you are choosing the right mortar analysis for your needs.

Mortar Analysis Services

For more articles about mortar analysis, see the list of related articles in the table below; or for professional assistance from a mortar analysis lab, see a listing of mortar analysis services for your area.

Popular Cities for Mortar Analysis

Mortar Analysis Articles

Mortar Analysis Articles

Acid Digestion Analysis of Mortar Petrographic Mortar Analysis Mortar Compressive Strength Analysis Sand Analysis ASTM c1324 Mortar Analysis
X-ray Diffraction Mortar Analysis     E-11 Specifications ASTM c109 Mortar Analysis
      Spectrographic Analysis of Sand ASTM c270 Mortar Analysis







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