The weathering of historical buildings and, indeed, of monuments and sculptures of natural stone is a problem that has been encountered for hundreds of years. However, a dramatic increase in deterioration in the structure of our built heritage has been observed during the past century. To understand the complex interaction that the stone in a building suffers with its near environment (the building) and the macro environment (the local climate and atmospheric conditions) requires an interdisciplinary approach and the application of many disciplines. Climate change over the next 100 years is likely to have a range of direct and indirect impacts on many natural and physical environments, including the built environment.
The protection of our architectural heritage has both cultural and historical importance, as well as substantial economic and ecological value. Large sums of money are being spent world-wide on measures for the preservation of monuments and historical buildings. The past few decades has seen an unprecedented level of research activity in this area, the results of which are often difficult to access and are summarized in the new edition of STONE IN ARCHITECTURE.
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This book surveys important stone properties, both physical and chemical, pertinent to the needs of architects, engineers and stone producers. Emphasis is placed on the chemical characteristics of the pollutants in air and water and their interaction with stone, which accelerates the process of stone decay, often many times faster than in rural locations in quarries or rock cuts. Graphs and diagrams, the scientist's language, analyze and quantify the natural processes which lead to stone decay: simplification of the graphs enhances their legibility not only for the student of geology, environmental science, engineering, but also for the museum curator and conservator who deal with stone monuments. Only thorough knowledge of stone properties and processes can lessen their frequent misuse and the present decay of urban stone, thus enabling its prevention with preservatives. The book also provides information for the stone producer and consumer for a better understanding of the product stone.
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