vai al contenuto della pagina vai al menu di navigazione

Elemental analysis of damage layers in modern concrete buildings

Environment and Energy

University of Bologna Team LeaderMorselli Luciano - Professor - Dep. of Industrial Chemistry and Materials.

University of Bologna Research GroupMorselli Luciano - Professor - Dep. of Industrial Chemistry and Materials; Bernardi Elena - Research Fellow - Dep. of Industrial Chemistry and Materials; I. Ozga.

Partner/Collaborations: C. Sabbioni, N. Ghedini, I. Ozga, A. Bonazza, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, ISAC-CNR, Bologna.

Context and objectives

The decay of monuments and historical building has been widely studied in recent years, however, few works are dedicated to modern concrete buildings.

This study focused on cement material-environment interaction, investigating the damage of the 20th century architecture induced by air multi-pollutants. Two cement buildings in Europe, sited in urban areas and exposed to different pollution sources, were considered: Centennial Hall, Wroclaw – Poland (1913) and Casa Galleria Vichi, Florence –Italy (1911). Several properties of crust and cement mortar samples from this buildings were studied; we focused in particular on the elemental composition.

Methodologies and equipment

Samples of cement mortars and decay layers from the considered buildings were mineralized and analyzed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy (ICP). Among the elements detected in the crusts, those having a natural origin, an anthropogenic source or coming from the original cement were distinguished by means of statistical analyses (Principal Component Analysis, PCA) and calculation of the Enrichment Factors (EF).


PCA and EF calculation allowed to identify the origin of the elements in damage layers (anthropogenic, soil dust, original material), showing that a major role in the damage process is played by anthropogenic pollutants from local sources.

The investigation of the impact of air multi-pollutants on cementitious materials is fundamental for planning the protection and conservation of the 20th century built heritage.

For further details

  • I. Ozga, A. Bonazza, F. Tittarelli, E. Bernardi, O. Favoni, N. Ghedini, L. Morselli, C. Sabbioni, Environmental damage in XXth century architecture, Structural Studies, Repairs and Maintenance of Heritage Architecture XI, 2009, WIT Press, ISBN:978-1-84564-196-2, pp.581-591
  • I. Ozga, A. Bonazza, E. Bernardi, F. Tittarelli, N. Ghedini, L. Morselli, C. Sabbioni, Air pollution impact on the XXth century architecture buildings, Atmospheric Environment (submitted)