Animazione Testata


A comparative study of the lime mortar. Cali, Colombia

Two types of lime mortar (glue and plaster) have been characterized, and these types of lime mortar were used in the construction of masonry bridges, called Puente Calicanto or Puente Ortiz, which are located in Cali (Colombia) and were put into service in 1845. To this end, the techniques of X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Infrared Spectroscopy by Fourier Transform (FT-IR), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) have been employed. Using these different techniques, it can be concluded that each of these mortars exhibit differences in the proportion of their constituent materials, and the successful use of empirical knowledge can be demonstrated in the selection of the types of lime used by the builders. XRD characterization is adequate when crystalline phases are present, but for low-crystallinity materials, FT-IR analysis and DSC are more appropriate.

Keywords: Historic Mortar, Analytical Characterization, Historical Bridges.

A comparative study of the lime mortar used for a XIX century masonry bridge located in Cali, Colombia

Jorge Galindo Díaz

Juan David Cañón

Pedro José Arango


Universidad Nacional de Colombia




In Colombia, construction with lime mortar was common throughout virtually the entire Colonial Period (ss. XVI-XVIII) and even during many decades of the Republic (ss. XIX and XX). However, many studies aimed at focusing on a physical characterization - the mechanical and chemical constituents of the materials are virtually nonexistent. The Puente de calicanto or Puente Ortiz (Calicanto Bridge or Ortiz Bridge) was built in the city of Cali between 1835 and 1845 across a river with the same name. It was built under the initial direction of a citizen named Jose Montehermoso and later under the supervision of the Franciscan priest, José Ignacio Ortiz. At the time of its commissioning, the structure had five leveling arches and four bow arches over the river that were built entirely from common bricks, which were stuck together with mortar made from a mixture of lime, sand and water. A layer was also prepared from lime mortar and covered the outer walls of the bridge (spandrels) to protect the highly porous bricks from moisture. Up until 1918, the structure did not experience any significant changes. Then, an expansion was conducted for the bearing extension board by incorporating concrete crossbeams. In 1945, two separate bridges were attached with concrete on each side of the original bridge and were buried under the ground to the extreme north and south of the nineteenth century original construction. In 2011, an urban archaeological excavation managed to unearth the walls of the southern end (approaches), which were in good condition, allowing them to obtain samples of the types of lime mortar used in both the bricks and the paste in the plaster of their spandrels.

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Ultimo aggiornamento: 14/05/2015 03:57

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