Journal of Civil and Environmental Engineering

ISSN: 2165-784X

Open Access

Hydro-mechanical Properties of Highly porous Limestone Rock used for Historic Monuments in North-East Tunisia


Yousr Koubaa, Mehrez Jamei and Houda Guiras

This paper deals with the study of the physical and hydro-mechanical characteristics of a porous limestone rock. It concerns a historic rock located at "El-Haouaria artificial caves" on the seacoast in the Northeast of Tunisia. The rock, object of study in this work, has undergone serious alterations, thus compromising the safety of the monuments. This paper focuses on the mechanical behavior of a sedimentary rock with a variable porosity; covering a wide range varying from 25% to 55%. This study is interested in identifying the mineralogical composition and the microscopic structure of the main rocks constituting the historic monument. Several tests were carried out and they showed that the rock’s mineralogical composition was calcite and quartz. The grain dimensions constituting the rock are variable. Its porosity is inter-granular and connected. This porosity changes over time due to weather conditions. Unconfined compressive tests and tensile tests were carried out on several samples with various porosities and in some cases in various saturation states. The performed tests showed the effect of both porosity and water content (suction) on strength characteristics. However, despite the rock’s dependency on the water content, the role of porosity remains more emphasized. Then, porosity seems to be the main factor affecting resistance properties due to the increase of the porosity and due to its variation as a source of humidity. A ‘’Li and Aubertin’s Model’’ was applied to predict the compression and tensile strength dependency on porosity. It highlighted a strong concordance between experimental and analytical model results. All strength characteristics evolutions with porosity and suction make up essential results obtained in this study. This will provide us with the required input data for modeling in order to predict cave structure degradation and eventually to monitor crack propagation.


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