Europe is nowadays the world’s leading producer and consumer of roofing slate. Slate quarries are found in most European countries. However, despite their importance as a building stone, roofing slates are a relatively unexamined material. In comparison with other building stones, there is a lack of research and scientific publications on roofing slates.
Applying expertise in X-ray micro-Computed Tomography (MCT) for the study of roofing slates will make it possible to determine several unresolved issues concerning these rocks:
Evolution of mechanical behaviour during freeze-thaw cycles of slate tiles. From an engineering perspective, this fact is crucial when deciding which type of slate should be used in a building, especially in areas with high temperature oscillation.
Loss of fissility of slate blocks during the production process under dry conditions. This phenomenon forces the blocks to be submerged in water during the production process, severely inconveniencing producers.
Evolution of mineral changes during weathering cycles. Observing the evolution of these minerals during weathering cycles will provide a clear understanding of how they really affect the integrity of the slate, and which concentrations should be considered dangerous.
Technological characterization of roofing slate and other rocks suitable for roofing. By characterizing slates with MCT it will be possible to obtain a 3D representation of the optimum microscopic structure of a roofing slate.
Development of a methodology to determine the origin of historical slate tiles, and, should they need to be replaced, for selecting the most appropriate type of replacement slate. This is very important, since frequently the original quarries are exhausted, forcing restorers to use foreign slates.
From an economic and social perspective, the results of the research will help to reactivate the economy of European slate-producing areas, due to the added value given to their slates.
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