Conserving Scotland’s built heritage: a petrographic investigation on the effects of deicing salts on Scottish sandstones

Callum Graham, Martin Lee, Vernon Phoenix, Maureen Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In an attempt to understand the effects of high levels of de-icing salt deposition on sandstone masonry structures, samples of six blonde and two red sandstones were subject to salt crystallisation tests using three different de-icing salts. The impact of these salts on stone mass and integrity was initially evaluated by quantifying the mass gain/loss of samples via weighing and photography; subsequently Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), laser scanning and X-ray computed tomography scanning (CT scanning) were used to assess internal salt distributions and salt decay mechanisms across each stone type. Preliminary results indicate that both the salt type and microscopic texture of the stones play a significant role in salt accumulation within the pore structure and on observed decay characteristics. Samples immersed in CaCl2 show the greatest percentage of weight increase but with little observable decay. The red Locharbriggs samples on the other hand demonstrate the greatest percentage of weight change and decay across each salt type. This decay is related to the microscopic texture of the stone, specifically in relation to microscopic anisotropy at the pore scale.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering Geology for Society and Territory
Subtitle of host publicationPreservation of Cultural Heritage
EditorsGiorgio Lollino, Daniele Giordan, Cristian Marunteanu, Basiles Christaras, Iwasaki Yoshinori, Claudio Margottini
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9783319094076
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • built heritage
  • de-icing salts
  • salt crystallization
  • sandstone decay


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