FluidControl: modifying the pore network and fluid flow to improve the durability of sedimentary rocks against salt damage

01 January 2024 ‚Üí 31 December 2027
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Biogeochemistry
    • Mineralogy and crystallography
    • Geology not elsewhere classified
    • Geophysical fluid dynamics
  • Engineering and technology
    • Destructive and non-destructive testing of materials
natural sedimentary stone fluid flow salt crystallization
Project description

Weathering is the process by which rocks break down and decompose over time. Next to the activity of pure liquid, migrating and crystallizing salts contribute to rock decay. In the natural and built environments many different types of salts are found. These salts may be of purely natural origin, they may come from pollutants in the air or water or originate from de-icing salts.The reason salts pose a problem to sedimentary rocks is because they are soluble and can dissolve and recrystallize, often within the pores of the stone at the point of evaporation. Whether or not these salts pose a problem will depend upon the aggressiveness of the environmental conditions and the vulnerability of the sedimentary rock, which depends on the nature of their porosity, permeability, and chemistry. Rock desintegration due to salt decay has significant environmental and economic consequences. It can damage cultural heritage sites and infrastructure; it can impact the hydraulic properties of sedimentary rocks, which affects groundwater resources and soil stability; and salt crystallization can alter the pore, leading to changes in their permeability and hydraulic conductivity which can have far-reaching effects on the water cycle, ecosystem functioning, and the stability of geological formations. FluidControl will impact salt decay by modifying pore dynamics and thereby changing fluid flow and salt crystallization.