Background and aim of the workshop:
The analysis of mortars and concretes from historic objects is an important and challenging task in the laboratory routine
of conservation sciences and material characterisation. The topic of Portland cement-based materials is of increasing importance,
as a growing number of sculptural and architectural objects originating from the 19th and 20th centuries are currently considered
cultural heritage, and knowledge of its material characteristics is a prerequisite to formulate compatible methods and materials
of conservation and restoration.
Many parameters describing a mortar in terms of its composition, preparation and condition can be identified by means of polarising
microscopy. While this analytical tool is often used by concrete and cement experts to check the composition and condition
of concrete or the quality of cement clinkers in the industrial process of production, scientists active in the field of heritage
conservation are frequently not aware of its potentials for the analysis of mortars. This workshop is addressed to the experts
aiming at extending their understanding of the range of microstructural phenomena of cement-based materials under the microscope
and transferring this knowledge into the conservation science. Participants should have a background knowledge in petrography
and cement chemistry.
The hosting institute, a unit of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, has a sound background in the analysis of historic
mortars by means of optical microscopy and SEM. In the past years, in the frame of the EU-project ROCARE, it had organised
a number of workshops focussing on the microscopy of historic mortars, ranging from ancient lime to 19th century Roman cements.
In consequence and for the first time, the focus will now be laid on Portland cements.
The event is co-organised by the Scientific Laboratory of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments (Dr.
Dr. Christine Merz from Switzerland, chief lecturer of the Workshop, has ample experience and enjoys wide reputation in the
field of microscopy of modern cement-based building materials. Her academic background in petrography is a key to the optimum
use of the techniques of microscopy in her field of work.