Durability-Building Stones

Use of Rare Rocks as Building Stones - Engineering Properties and Their Correlation with Long-Term Performance

Construction practices and the choice of building stones vary from region to region as well as from Country to Country. Two on-going studies are being collaboratively conducted with Dr. Bahadir Yavuz and his team from Dokuz Eylul University and Dr. Burak Tanyu from George Mason University. Both of these studies focus on the engineering properties of two very different and rare rocks along the Aegean Sea coastline of Turkey.

First study focuses to the Alacati region, which is a small touristic town located about 70 km west of Izmir. Tuff has been a choice as building stone for many years in the past, as the appearance of the rock is very appealing although it is not common to see this rock being used as a building stone. Although the use was discontinued in recent times, it was re-initiated in 2005 based on the desire of the Alacati municipality to preserve the historical appearance. With this new initiation, all of the exterior wall coverings of all new buildings and garden walls had to be constructed with tuff. In recent years, these constructed buildings started to show significant deterioration in areas where tuff was used. Similar deterioration has not been observed in buildings previously constructed (some of which are as old as 100 years old). The focus of this study was to investigate this discrepancy and identify the reasoning.

The second study focuses to the Buca region, which is one of the suburbs of Izmir. In Izmir, andesite rocks are frequently used in construction. The most common andesite rocks that are being used in construction are in grey and pink colors based on their specific mineralogy. However, in  Buca, which is located in the northern part of Izmir, some of the old (and ancient) constructions were completed using a rare green colored andesite rocks. Some of these structures date back to Roman Empire and even the most modern structures are about 100 years old. The focus of this research is to understand the difference in geological and engineering properties of the andesites used in Izmir and Buca and to determine the factors that affect the longer lasting performance of the Buca andesites.