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ASTM Selected Technical Papers
Cleaning Stone and Masonry
By
JR Clifton
JR Clifton
1
National Bureau of Standards
,
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
;
editor
.
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ISBN-10:
0-8031-0932-6
ISBN:
978-0-8031-0932-2
No. of Pages:
186
Publisher:
ASTM International
Publication date:
1986

The Schenectady, New York, City Hall was designed by McKim, Mead, and White, Architects and constructed in 1930–1931. In recent years, severe deterioration of the exterior marble architectural elements was observed by city officials. As a result of this concern, a study was undertaken to analyze the causes and extent of deterioration, as well as methods for its arrest and control.

Investigation of the marble deterioration was carried out using the following equipment and techniques:

(a) optical microscope with photomicrographic dispersive staining capability,

(b) scanning electron microscope and computer-based energy-dispersive X-ray microanalyzer,

(c) ion chromatography,

(d) electron microprobe, and

(e) environmental pollutants data.

Based on this analysis, the following conclusions were drawn regarding the deterioration of the marble:

1. The deterioration of the marble is caused by a constant direct chemical attack by sulfuric acid. 2. Nitric acid has not played a major role in the deterioration of this marble. 3. Acid precipitations have not played a major role in the deterioration of the marble. 4. The major vehicle for attacking the marble is sulfuric acid produced continuously on wet surfaces by the heterogeneous oxidation of absorbed sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the presence of catalysts associated with the burning of fossil fuels.

As the result of these investigations, a major program for the cleaning and conservation of both the exterior and interior marble was prepared and put into effect. It consisted of the following actions:

(a) thorough cleaning of the exterior marble to remove gypsum crusts and sulfur using low-pressure water washing with the use of chemical cleaning agents in areas with severe deterioration, (b) cleaning of the interior marble using liquid cleaning agents and poultices, and (c) preparation of a long-term building conservation/maintenance/repair program for the City Hall to arrest future deterioration.

1.
Cheng
,
R.
,
Mohnen
,
V. A.
,
Shen
,
T. T.
,
Current
,
M.
, and
Hudson
,
J. B.
, “
Characterization of Particles from Power Plants
,”
Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association
 0002-2470, Vol.
26
, No.
8
,
08
1980
, pp. 787-790.
2.
Cheng
,
R. J.
and
Castillo
,
R.
, “
Investigation of Marble Deterioration of City Hall of Schenectady, New York
,”
ASRC Technical Report
No. 857,
Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Albany
,
08
1982
;
Cheng
,
R. J.
and
Castillo
,
R.
, “
A Study of Marble Deterioration at City, Hall, Schenectady, New York
,”
Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association
 0002-2470, Vol.
34
, No.
1
,
01
1984
, pp. 15-19.
3.
Dornberg
,
J.
, “
The Plaster of Paris Cathedral
,”
Pan Am Clipper
,
07
1982
, pp. 18-22.
4.
Gauri
,
K. L.
and
Holdren
, ,
G. C.
 Jr.
, “
Pollutant Effects on Stone Monuments
,”
Environmental Science and Technology
 0013-936X, Vol.
15
, No.
4
,
1981
, pp. 386-390.
5.
Del Monte
,
M.
,
Sabbioni
,
C.
, and
Vittori
,
O.
, “
Airborne Carbon Particles and Marble Deterioration
,”
Atmospheric Environment
 1352-2310, Vol.
15
, No.
5
,
1981
, pp. 645-642.
6.
Cheng
,
R. J.
, “
Emissions from Power Plants and Their Impact on the Environment
,”
Proceedings of First U.S.-China Conference on Energy, Resources and Environment
, Beijing, China, 7–12 Nov. 1982.
Yuan
S. W.
, Ed.,
Pergamon Press
,
New York
,
1982
, pp. 591-598.
7.
Cheng
,
R. J.
, “
Industrial Emissions and Marble Deterioration
,”
Proceedings, Sixth World Congress on Air Quality
,
Paris, France
, 16–20 May 1983, pp. 171-172.
8.
Mendel · Mesick · Cohen · Waite Architects
, “
Literature Review for the Effects of Air Pollutants on Cultural Properties
,”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
,
Albany, NY
,
1981
.
9.
Schenectady City Hall, Schenectady, New York: Building Conservation Report
,”
Mendel · Mesick · Cohen · Waite Architects
,
Albany, NY
,
1982
.
10.
Mendel · Mesick · Cohen · Waite Architects
, “
Masonry Cleaning Tests: Interior Marble
,”
United States Custom House, San Francisco, California, Historic Structure Report
,
General Services Administration
,
San Francisco
,
1982
, pp. 278-284.
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