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Physicochemical characterisation of traditional mortars present on historical earthen buildings in the Paraíba Valley and their vulnerability to environmental factors stress


Earthen architecture and the techniques of wattle-and-daub, rammed earth and adobe constitute an exceptional ensemble of historical constructions in Brazil and, in particular, in the valley of the Paraíba river. This heritage is at risk of disappearing and demands suitable preservation policies. In turn, these policies depend on the support of research actions, encompassing the identification and mapping of historical buildings erected between the XVIII and XIX centuries (not always complied into official protection records), as well as the profound characterisation of the composition of materials and the physical, chemical and biological deterioration processes. It should be noted that the preservation of earthen architecture is essential to guarantee the permanence of tangible records of building practices throughout our history.The present proposal will approach the issue of covering mortars used on earthen buildings, since these elements play a crucial role in the protection of buildings against the aggression of environmental factors. Namely, the scope of this project is to draw a picture of the different solutions adopted in the conception of such materials in terms of composition - in the different historical moments - and to assess the resistance/vulnerability of such systems to abiotic and biotic aggression agents, in the context of the Paraíba valley and in the light of the forthcoming climate change projected for that area. With this goal in mind, the research will include the assembly of a base of samples of mortars of earthen buildings and their physical, chemical and microbiological characterisation, as well as a series of laboratory simulations in which the response of reconstructed specimens to the stress produced by selected environmental factors. (AU)

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