|Humidification system in action - Temple Precinct|
Next question = Why?
Answer = To prevent salt crystal growth which can cause stones to break where cracks exist and ceramic building material to breakdown.
|Salt crystal growth - Temple Precinct|
Answer = Salts are contained within the stone and they expand as stone dries out, causing the weaker surrounding material to be pushed out. In a fluctuating environment the processes of dilution/absorption and concentration/expansion causes the stone to crack and clay to break down. Salt damage results largely from the growth of salt crystals within a porous structure. A broad variety of damage features—from granular disintegration to flaking and scaling. The water spray is keeping the environment stable i.e. constantly damp and aims to stop this process from happening.
Question = Why not just remove the salts?
Answer = Unfortunately due to the nature of the site, salts are constantly going to be present. The salts are present in the underlying soil fed by the natural spring water which is very rich in metals, salts and minerals and are drawn up by the stone and ceramic building material.
|Pillars made from ceramic bricks - West Baths|
Can you think of any more monument conservation questions you might like to ask?
For a good place to start if you would like learn more about salt crystal growth follow the link below
Helen Harman - Collection Assistant