Impact of in-pore salt crystallization on transport properties

Rosa M. Espinosa-Marzal, George W. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Precipitation of salts in confined spaces is the key mechanism for rock weathering and damage to building materials. To date there is no comprehensive study of the parameters influencing the reduction of pore space by salt crystals and the consequences for transport and damage by crystallization pressure. A novel method is presented to quantify pore clogging (i.e., the degree to which crystallization of salts interferes with transport of solution in porous materials). After drying capillary-saturated stone specimens containing salt solutions, the rate of capillary uptake of decane into the salt-contaminated specimens is measured. By treating the salt-contaminated material as a bilayer, the width of the crystallization front and the degree of pore filling can be determined. Two model materials with different pore size distributions (Indiana and Highmoor limestone) and three salts (sodium chloride, sodium sulfate and magnesium sulfate) are selected for this study. It is shown that pore clogging results from the interplay between pore size distribution and salt properties. Different scenarios are discussed to link pore clogging with salt damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2657-2669
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • Crystallization
  • Flow in porous materials
  • Limestone
  • Pore clogging
  • Salt weathering


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