2015 IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium



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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Benjamin Dattilo


Department of Geosciences

University Affiliation

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne


This project provides a foundation for a multi-generational decay study of the Dr. Jack Sunderman monument located in the Jack A. Sunderman Geogarden on the IPFW campus. Like most systems of nature, the decay process of stone is complex. The monument in question will be affected by a variety of weathering processes. The ultimate goal is to identify all processes and differentiate their effects. Characterization, detailed observations, periodic measuring and the occasional sampling of the monument reveal weathering processes. The monument was closely observed from October 2013 through March 2014. Copious amounts of literature is available that document techniques and methods for the evaluation of stone properties such as porosity, permeability and capillary movement. Furthermore the Salem limestone is a well-studied building material. Simple methods are explored by the author in hopes of providing a basic interpretation of decay observed on the monument. Observations include absorption and dehydration rates, salt precipitation, capillary movement, discoloration, staining, and surface alteration. The most noticeable change is discoloration. The discoloration comes from a variety of sources such as atmospheric pollution and the oxidation of Iron-bearing minerals. Efflorescence of salt also causes a white discoloration although the salt is soluble and is quickly washed off by rain. The removal of efflorescence accounts for a miniscule amount of statue material but should be considered part of the decay process. Present observations and research lead to a conclusion that the short term decay of Salem limestone is negligible and the stone is resistant to decay and weathering at the scale of a human’s lifespan. This research provides consumers evidence of Salem limestone’s durability and helps to explain the popularity of Salem limestone as a building material.


Earth Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Weathering of Salem Limestone