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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


GALINDO DIAZ, Jorge Alberto; MUNOZ, Andrés Mauricio  and  CAICEDO MUNOZ, Marisol. Characterising a historical bridge’s bricks in Popayán ( Colombia ). Ing. Investig. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.2, pp.15-21. ISSN 0120-5609.

This article presents the procedures and results of studying the physical-mechanical and chemical-mineralogical characterisation of the bricks originally used in a masonry arch bridge; the bridge was built in the first half of the 18th century in the city of Popayán, Colombia . Coresamples were thus extracted from the bridge’s lower area and subjected to different laboratory tests. Physical-mechanical characterisation quantified values related to dry weight, suspended weight, saturated weight, porosity, apparent gravity, apparent density and maximum load values, cold compression resistance and elasticity modulus. The results revealed the bricks’ high porosity and their low resistance to compression stress. Chemical-mineralogical characterisation involved a combination of tests including X-ray diffracttion (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Several minerals found led to deducting the source of the raw material, as well as verifying some brick production characteristics of the time in the said region. Tridimite, cristobalite, magnetite and calcium carbonate were some of the phases formed by the temperatures reached while firing the bricks, while potassium sulphate presence in one of the samples conveyed the nature of the construction materials’ production characteristics. Combining XRD and XPS analysis provided information about firing temperature and the new mineralogical phases appearing at the end of this process; FTIR proved functional OH and Si-O-Si group presence. These bricks’ characteristics provided valuable data for restoration purposes, formulating a new brick from raw material complying with reconstruction requirements.

Keywords : brick; physical-chemical characteristic; mechanical property.

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