Geotechnical Characterization of Sakakini’s Palace Stones and Other Construction Materials, Cairo-Egypt


The understanding of the geotechnical problems and failure mechanisms of stone structures of Sakakini palace (1897 after century) entails a comprehensive study on the mechanical behaviour of the stones and other construction materials. In addition to micro analysis, geological and geomorphologic interests, several investigations on stone deterioration and engineering geology were performed, First phase included more sophisticated techniques, which provided additional information on particular aspects of site deterioration and it included laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBs), electron probe micro analysis, micro XRD and XRF analyses, scanning electron microscope analysis coupled with EDX probing, transmission electron microscopy and grain size distribution analysis, permeability and pore size distribution of stone, mortars, core binders and other construction materials. Second phase included the determination of mechanical properties of building stones, such as compressive strength, modulus of elasticity, tensile strength, and shear strength. To arrive at reliable values for these properties, a suitable number of samples should be extracted, prepared for testing, and properly tested. The test results are then analyzed to establish the investigated stone properties. The testing program includes extracting seven cylindrical cores from the basement stone walls of Sakakini’s mansion in down townCairo. The cores are extracted using rotary cylindrical diamond blade coring machine. The top and bottom surfaces of every core were prepared to be flat circular surfaces perpendicular to the vertical axis of the core. Because the palace is museum and attractive places for the tourists, core sampling could be carried out only at a limited number of locations under official permission. For the purpose, cylindrical specimens with a diameter of 42 - 44 mm and height of 90 - 100 mm, prepared by the use of a core drilling machine and some collected blocks from the archaeological site under investtigation were taken to determine the bulk structure, physical, short and long-term mechanical properties of the stone and other construction materials in the laboratory. A number of specimens prepared from these blocks were employed for testing. Furthermore, limitation due to the number of blocks was overcome by the determination of the in situ characteristics of the stones by Schmidt hammer tests, geo-tomographic investigations and rock mass classification on some stone rock structures where testing has been permitted. The objectives of the study are to provide a characterization of micro structures and the mechanical properties of the stones of Sakakini’s Mansion; describe the required testing plan; describe the test results and conclude the values of the basic mechanical properties of the building stones. The following sections provide detailed descriptions of the steps taken to achieve the objectives of the study. The purpose of the present research is to provide recommendations regarding the strengthening and the safety of architectural heritage under long and short-term loading. For this purpose, a set of experimental tests and of advanced numerical analyses are to be carried out.

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S. Hemeda, "Geotechnical Characterization of Sakakini’s Palace Stones and Other Construction Materials, Cairo-Egypt," Geomaterials, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2013, pp. 38-46. doi: 10.4236/gm.2013.31005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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