Bridging theory and practice

Title: Bridging theory and practice
Author(s): R. Hayen, K. Van Balen
Paper category : conference
Book title: Workshop Repair Mortars for Historic Masonry
Editor(s): C. Groot
Print-ISBN: None
e-ISBN: 978-2-35158-083-7
Publisher: RILEM Publications SARL
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 123 - 131
Total Pages: 9
Nb references: 8
Language: English

Abstract: Looking at repair mortars for the restoration of our cultural built heritage our main aim is to develop certain technical requirements and guidelines for choosing and/or designing suitable - read compatible in the broadest sense - repair mortars.
As such we need to impose certain properties in order to obtain a chemical, physical and mechanical compatible repair mortar in respect with the historic tissue.
The study of historical mortars can help to guide that choice. However, also other properties, that can not be derived from that study, will guide the repair mortar composition. Above that, sustainability could only be guaranteed if these properties can be predicted beforehand.
Within this practical and visionary context several key questions do arise. Given that we know the constraints, we can, most often, theoretically conceive the expected properties of a suitable repair mortar. Are we, however, able to realize our visionary repair mortar within the context of the historical tissue? With other words can we predict the conceived properties and transfer successfully our ideas to the architect, engineer and finally the craftsman on site? Two examples will situate the answer to this key question.
The description of a mortar recipe demands in the first place from the researcher up to the craftsman a good knowledge of its constituents. In the case of lime itself, for instance, do we already all speak the same language? Does the existing context of international standards and/or local regulations, indispensable for the architect and building contractor, clarify our common discussion, helping out the architect, building contractor and craftsman to choose the right binder?
Even if the context of the individual constituents would be clarified satisfactory, one remains with the prediction of the elements that define compatibility and sustainability: the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the mortar itself within the context of the historic tissue.
Without doubt a lot of research has over the years been carried out and been presented at conferences, research papers etc., examining each time specific influences of constituent properties, mixture compositions, environmental conditions, etc. on the repair mortar’s properties. But do we all hold the key to the prediction of the mortar properties or does each of us hold one element of the combination lock? Isn’t it time to put together, even the most elementary research data in order to unlock the vault, i.e. synthesize the information in a way that it becomes accessible to researchers and practitioners?

Online publication: 2009-06-08
Publication type : full_text
Public price (Euros): 0.00