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Title: Mechanical resilience and cementitious processes in Imperial Roman architectural mortar

The pyroclastic aggregate concrete of Trajan’s Markets (110 CE), now Museo Fori Imperiali in Rome, has absorbed energy from seismic ground shaking and long-term foundation settlement for nearly two millenia while remaining largely intact at the structural scale. The scientific basis of this exceptional service record is explored through computed tomography of fracture surfaces and synchroton X-ray microdiffraction analyses of a reproduction of the standardized hydrated lime–volcanic ash mortar that binds decimeter-sized tuff and brick aggregate in the conglomeratic concrete. The mortar reproduction gains fracture toughness over 180 d through progressive coalescence of calcium–aluminum-silicate–hydrate (C-A-S-H) cementing binder with Ca/(Si+Al) ≈ 0.8–0.9 and crystallization of strätlingite and siliceous hydrogarnet (katoite) at ≥90 d, after pozzolanic consumption of hydrated lime was complete. Platey strätlingite crystals toughen interfacial zones along scoria perimeters and impede macroscale propagation of crack segments. In the 1,900 year old mortar, C-A-S-H has low Ca/(Si+Al) ≈ 0.45–0.75. Dense clusters of 2- to 30-µm strätlingite plates further reinforce interfacial zones, the weakest link of modern cement-based concrete, and the cementitious matrix. These crystals formed during long-term autogeneous reaction of dissolved calcite from lime and the alkali-rich scoriae groundmass, clay mineral (halloysite), and zeolite (phillipsite and chabazite) surface textures from themore » Pozzolane Rosse pyroclastic flow, erupted from the nearby Alban Hills volcano. The clast-supported conglomeratic fabric of the concrete presents further resistance to fracture propagation at the structural scale.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [8]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME (United States)
  3. DuPont Engineering Research and Technology, Wilmington, DE (United States)
  4. Ufficio Fori Imperiali, Rome (Italy)
  5. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Southeast Univ., Nanjing (China)
  6. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Southeast Univ. Nanjing (China)
  7. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  8. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1221827
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 111; Journal Issue: 52; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE Roman concrete; volcanic ash mortar; fracture toughness; interfacial zone; strätlingite