Cement - steatite composites reinforced with carbon fibres: an alternative for restoration of brazilian historical buildings


Materials Research




Steatite is a mineral which has been employed in the carving of elements in facades of Brazilian historical buildings and churches since the 17th century. Over the years, many of those historical buildings suffered the consequences of weathering with a current need for restoration. Recently a special cement-based mortar containing additions of fine powder waste from mineral extraction of steatite has been developed in Brazil, as a composite material for restoration of steatite elements. However, the incorporation of steatite waste reduces the flexural strength of the mortar and compromises the restoration of elements where gravity imposes tensile stresses. The addition of carbon fibres may overcome this issue and increase the flexural strength of the cement-steatite composite mortar. This work investigates the effect of carbon fibre addition on the bulk density and flexural strength of compacted precast cement-steatite composites. The results show that the addition of carbon fibres (i) effectively increases the mechanical strength, allowing for a higher amount of steatite powder waste in the mixes; (ii) reduces the weight of the structural elements. This new composite material would help to develop restoration techniques of historical buildings and serve as a disposal route of steatite powder waste in Brazil.

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