A good knowledge of the volume-fraction porosity is essential in any technical work on porous materials. In construction materials the porosity is commonly measured by the Archimedes buoyancy method, from which the bulk density of the test specimen is also obtained. The porosity and the bulk density together fix the solid density of the specimen, as only two of the three quantities are independent. The solid density, although rarely discussed, is determined by the mineralogy of the specimen, and therefore can provide a valuable check on the accuracy of porosity and bulk density measurements. Our analysis of published data on calcitic limestones shows that the solid density is generally close to the ideal crystallographic density of calcite. Small deviations can often be traced to variations in mineral composition. However some published porosity–density data are inconsistent with the known mineralogy. Deviations which cannot be ascribed to composition may be assumed to arise from measurement errors. We show the value of using the solid density as a quality check on the measured porosity. We recommend that the solid density should always be calculated for this purpose when the Archimedes method is used. This check can be useful also when porosities are measured by helium pycnometry or by mercury intrusion porosimetry.
- Archimedes method