Understanding and characterizing historic mortars involves several processes to dissect the component parts and determine the original ratios of binders, aggregates, and colorants or other additives that contribute to the physical performance and visual appearance of the original material. Acid digestion and examination of petrographic thin sections with polarized light microscopy are used in tandem to provide qualitative results for binder composition, sand and aggregate proportion, color, and other information. Analytical results can then direct the specification of replica mortars to match the necessary properties of the original.
Our team is trained in a range of forensic techniques including the sampling and analysis of historic mortars. The purpose of this type of analysis is to provide accurate information about original masonry materials and mortar mixes, and to assist clients in the selection of physically and visually compatible materials available today.