Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Studia Geotechnica et Mechanica

The Journal of Wroclaw University of Technology

4 Issues per year

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Rock Pore Structure as Main Reason of Rock Deterioration

Martin Ondrášik / Miloslav Kopecký
Published Online: 2014-06-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/sgem-2014-0010


Crashed or dimensional rocks have been used as natural construction material, decoration stone or as material for artistic sculptures. Especially old historical towns not only in Slovakia have had experiences with use of stones for construction purposes for centuries. The whole buildings were made from dimensional stone, like sandstone, limestone or rhyolite. Pavements were made especially from basalt, andesite, rhyolite or granite. Also the most common modern construction material - concrete includes large amounts of crashed rock, especially limestone, dolostone and andesite.

However, rock as any other material if exposed to exogenous processes starts to deteriorate. Especially mechanical weathering can be very intensive if rock with unsuitable rock properties is used. For long it had been believed that repeated freezing and thawing in relation to high absorption is the main reason of the rock deterioration. In Slovakia for many years the high water absorption was set as exclusion criterion for use of rocks and stones in building industry. Only after 1989 the absorption was accepted as merely informational rock property and not exclusion. The reason of the change was not the understanding of the relationship between the porosity and rock deterioration, but more or less good experiences with some high porous rocks used in constructions exposed to severe weather conditions and proving a lack of relationship between rock freeze-thaw resistivity and water absorption.

Results of the recent worldwide research suggest that understanding a resistivity of rocks against deterioration is hidden not in the absorption but in the structure of rock pores in relation to thermodynamic properties of pore water and tensile strength of rocks and rock minerals.

Also this article presents some results of research on rock deterioration and pore structure performed on 88 rock samples. The results divide the rocks tested into two groups - group N in which the pore water does not freeze even when the temperature decreases to -20 ºC, and the second group F in which the pore water freezes. It has been found that the rocks from group N contain critical portion of adsorbed water in pores which prevents freezing of the pore water. The presence of adsorbed water enables thermodynamic processes related to osmosis which are dominantly responsible for deterioration of rocks from group N. A high correlation (R = 0.81) between content of adsorbed water and freeze-thaw loss was proved and can be used as durability estimator of rocks from group N. The rock deterioration of group F is caused not only by osmosis, but also by some other processes and influences, such as hydraulic pressure, permeability, grain size, rock and mineral tensile strength, degree of saturation, etc., and the deterioration cannot be predicted yet without the freeze-thaw test. Since the contents of absorbed water and ratio between adsorbed and bulk water (of which the absorbed water consists) is controlled by the porosity and pore structure, it can be concluded that the deterioration of some rocks is strongly related to rock pore structure.

Keywords: mechanical weathering; rock deterioration; adsorbed water; adsorbed water freezing; rock porosity; freeze-thaw loss


  • [1] ACADORCJAN Z.A., Prirodnyje kamennyje materialy Armenii, Izdateľstvo literatury po stroiteľstvu, Moscow, 1967, 240.Google Scholar

  • [2] ADAMSON A.W., Physical chemistry of surfaces, A Wiley- Interscience Publication, New York, 1982, 777.Google Scholar

  • [3] BATES R.L., JACKSON J.A., Dictionary of geological terms, Third Edition, The American Geological Institute, New York, 1984, 571.Google Scholar

  • [4] BENAVENTURE D., GARCIA DEL CURA M.A., ORDONEZ S., Thermodynamic modelling of changes induced by salt pressure crystallisation in porous media of stone, Journal of Crystal Growth, 1999, 204, 168-178.Google Scholar

  • [5] BENAVENTURE D., GARCIA DEL CURA M.A., BERNADEU S., ORDONEZ S., Quantification of salt weathering in porous stones using an experimental continuous partial immersion method, Engineering Geology, 2001, 59, 313-325.Google Scholar

  • [6] BENAVENTURE D., GARCIA DEL CURA M.A., GARCIA- -GUINEAD J., SANCHEZ-MORAL S., ORDONEZ S., Role of pore structure in salt crystallisation in unsaturated porous stone, Journal of Crystal Growth, 2004, 260, 532-544.Google Scholar

  • [7] ČABALOVÁ D., Štúdium nasiakavosti vulkanických hornín Slovenska z hľadiska možnosti ich využitia pre ušľachtilú a hrubú kamenársku výrobu, Geologický Průzkum, 1988, Vol. 30, No. 2, 40-44.Google Scholar

  • [8] ČABALOVÁ D., Výsledky štúdia pórovej štruktúry vulkanických hornín Slovenska, Acta Polytechnica, Práce ČVÚT, Prague, 1989, 41-47.Google Scholar

  • [9] DEJIAN L., GUILIAN W., LIQIANG H., PEIYU L., MANCHAO H., GUOXING Y., QIMIN T., CHENG C., Analysis of microscopic pore structures of rocks before and after water absorption, Mining Science and Technology, (China), 2011, 21, 287-293.Google Scholar

  • [10] DUNN J.R., HUDEC P.P., Frost and sorption effects in argillaceous rocks. Frost action in soils, Highway research record, No. 393, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1972, 65-78.Google Scholar

  • [11] FAGERLUND G., Determination of specific surface by the BET method, Materials and Constructions, 1973, Vol. 6, 239-144.Google Scholar

  • [12] FETTER C.W., Applied Hydrogeology, Second Edition, Macmillan Collage Publishing Company, 1994, 77-128.Google Scholar

  • [13] FISCHER C., GAUPP R., Multi-scale rock surface area quantification - a systematic method to evaluate the reactive surface area of rocks, Chemie der Erde, 2004, 64, 241-256.Google Scholar

  • [14] HILTMANN W., STRIBRNY B., Tonmineralogie und Bodenphysik, Handbuch zur Erkundung des Untergrundes von Deponien und Altlasten, Springer, Berlin, 1998, Vol. 5, 297.Google Scholar

  • [15] HUDEC P.P., Durability of carbonate rocks as function of their thermal expansion, water sorption, and mineralogy, ASTM Tech. Pub., 1980, 691, 497-508.Google Scholar

  • [16] HUDEC P.P., Deterioration of aggregates. The underlying causes, Katharine and Bryant Mather International Conference on Concrete Durability, American Concrete Institution, Detroit, Michigan, 1987, 1325-1342Google Scholar

  • [17] HUDEC P.P., Freezing or osmosis as deterioration mechanism of concrete and aggregate? Low temperature effects on concrete proceedings, Second Canadian/Japan Workshop, Ottawa, Ontario, 1991, 1-7.Google Scholar

  • [18] HUDEC P.P., Aggregate and concrete durability as controlled by water and cation adsorption and osmosis. Proceeding of Del seminario international sobre technologia del concreto, Concrete Durability, Monterrey, Mexico 1993, 32-52.Google Scholar

  • [19] HUDEC P.P., Vlastnosti hornín a fyzikálne procesy pri urýchlenom zvetrávaní, Zborník z 2. seminára Výroba Kameniva *98 so zahraničnou účasťou, Stará Lesná, 1998, 35-42.Google Scholar

  • [20] HUDEC P.P., SITAR N., Effect of sorption on carbonate rock expansion, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 1975, Vol. 12, No. 2, 179-186.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • [21] KANEUJI M., WINSLOW D.N., DOLCH W.L., The relationship between an aggregate pore size distribution and its freezethaw durability in concrete, Cement and concrete Research, 1980, 10 (3), 433-441.Google Scholar

  • [22] KATE J.M., GOKHALE C.S., A simple method to estimate complete pore size distribution of rocks, Engineering Geology, 2006, 84, 48-69.Google Scholar

  • [23] LACH V., DAŇKOVÁ M., Mikrostruktura stavebních látek, ES VUT, Brno, 1987, 170.Google Scholar

  • [24] MANTELL C.L., Adsorption, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1951, 634.Google Scholar

  • [25] NORTH F.K., Petroleum Geology, Allen & Unwin, Boston, USA, 1985, 115-126.Google Scholar

  • [26] ONDRÁŠIK M., Vplyv štruktúry pórov a vlastností v nich uzavretej vody na rozpad hornín, PhD Thesis, Department of Engineering Geology, PriF UK, Bratislava, 2004.Google Scholar

  • [27] ONDRÁŠIK M., Vplyv štruktúry pórov a vlastností v nich uzavretej vody na rozpad hornín, Geologické Práce, Bratislava 2006, No. 112, ŠGÚDŠ, 79-95.Google Scholar

  • [28] POWERS T.C., The air requirements of frost-resistant concrete, Proceedings of the Highway Research Board, 1949, 29, 184-211.Google Scholar

  • [29] POWERS T.C., Freezing effect in concrete. Durability of concrete, ACI SP47, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, Michigan, 1975, 1-11.Google Scholar

  • [30] RIGBEY S.J., The effect of sorbed water on expansivity and durability of rock, Master thesis, University of Windsor, 1980, 169.Google Scholar

  • [31] ROUQUEROL J., AVNIR D., FAIRBRIDGE C.W., EVERETT D.H., HAYNES J.H., PERNICONE N., RAMSAY J.D.F., SING K.S.W., UNGER K.K., Recommendations for the characterization of porous solids, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 1994, 66, 1739-1758.Google Scholar

  • [32] RUTHVEN D.M., Principles of adsorption and adsorption processes, A Wiley-Interscience Publication, New York, 1984, 464.Google Scholar

  • [33] SIGURDSSON O., GUMUNDSSON A., FRILEIFSSON O., FRANZSON S., STEFANSSON V., Database on igneous rock properties in Icelandic geothermal systems, status and unexpected results, Proceedings of World Geothermal Congress 2000, Kyushu-Tohoku, Japan, 2000, 2881-2886.Google Scholar

  • [34] STRUHÁROVÁ A., ROUSEKOVÁ I., Porous structure of cellular concrete and its impact on selected physical-mechanical properties of cellular concrete, Slovak Journal of Civil Engineering, STU Bratislava, 2007, Vol. 2, 35-43.Google Scholar

  • [35] VERBECK G., LANDGREN R., Influence of physical characteristics of aggregates on frost resistance of concrete, Proceedings of the American Society for Testing and Materials, 1960, 1063-1079.Google Scholar

  • [36] WARDEH G., PERRIN B., Freezing-thawing phenomena in fired clay materials and consequences on their durability, Construction and Building Materials, 2008, Vol. 22, 820-828. Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2014-06-13

Published in Print: 2014-03-01

Citation Information: Studia Geotechnica et Mechanica, Volume 36, Issue 1, Pages 79–88, ISSN (Online) 2083-831X, ISSN (Print) 0137-6365, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/sgem-2014-0010.

Export Citation

© by Martin Ondrášik. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in