Author: T. Ryan
1 February 2016
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In contrast, the need to maintain a balance of moisture and flexibility in the body of an old wall is essential. Ignoring this will lead to the classic error of repointing old structures in brittle, impermeable Portland cement
(OPC) mortar. The mortar provides the route for evaporation from the core and should be more permeable than the brick or stone. To reverse this by sealing the joints with a hard finish can only lead to trouble.
Historic buildings and structures, like any other, move to some degree, whether due to thermal effects, changes in moisture levels in the structural fabric, influences on the founding subsoil, or environmental forces. The key question for the conservation engineer is to determine whether the movement is progressive and presents a risk to the structure. This article introduces engineers to the various techniques available to monitor movement in historic structures, from simple manual techniques which are less commonly used today, to sophisticated electronic systems. The form of monitoring will depend on the nature of the assumed movement, the funds available, and the possible consequences if the movement is progressive.
This article looks at some aspects of floor loading and how its application has changed for the better. It encourages a careful consideration of loadings to avoid unnecessary and irreversible loss of fabric through the application of significant strengthening schemes, cutting away existing historic framing.
As structural engineering students, we learn about mild steel, modern design and construction methods. However, historic structures often do not fit into this mould. Whether you work in conservation or are a general practitioner, you are likely to come across cast iron, wrought iron, as well as early mild steel structures.