Is BS EN 459-1:2015 fit for purpose in the context of conservation?

Cristiano Figueiredo, Richard J. Ball, Mike Lawrence

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Natural hydraulic lime (NHL) binders consist mainly of portlandite, reactive silicates, and aluminates formed from the reaction of crushed limestone, containing clays or other impurities, during calcination. By their nature, these binders have a variable chemical and mineral composition, depending on the
geographical location of the limestone extraction (initial composition) and the manufacturing process.
The NHL classification, as specified in BS EN 459-1:2015, does not consistently give a representative indication of the properties of mortars made with particular
NHL binders, because different limes in the same classification often exhibit very different properties and behaviour, thereby hindering the ease of user
specification for mortars. A representative selection of binders was characterised using calorimetric analysis, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, and particle size analysis. The varying proportions of reactive mineral phases between the limes were related to the kinetics of the hydraulic reaction of the NHL binders and their chemical and physical properties. A relationship has been established between the chemical and physical properties of the binders and the NHL
characteristics. These results will be used to validate a model predicting the long-term behaviour of NHL mortars for conservation interventions on heritage and historic buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
JournalThe Journal of the Building Limes Forum
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • natural hydraulic lime
  • conservation
  • Lime mortar


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