Fire resistance of the Mt. Epomeo Green Tuff, a widely-used building stone on Ischia Island (Italy)

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Michael Heap
Alexandra Kushnir
Luke Griffiths
Fabian Wadsworth
Gian Marco Marmoni
Matteo Fiorucci
Salvatore Martino
Patrick Baud
H. Albert Gilg
Thierry Reuschlé


The use of Mt. Epomeo Green Tuff (MEGT) as a building stone is widespread on Ischia Island (Italy). We assess here the fire resistance of MEGT by thermally stressing samples to temperatures up to 1000 °C. Porosity and uniaxial compressive strength increase and decrease from 44% and 4.5 MPa at ambient temperature to 48% and 1.5 MPa following exposure to 1000 °C, respectively. Complementary thermogravimetric and X-ray powder diffraction analyses, experiments that monitor acoustic emissions during heating/cooling, and microstructural observations highlight that these changes are the result of thermal microcracks, formed due to the breakdown of zeolites and clays (MEGT contains 35 wt.% analcime, 15 wt.% smectite, and 3 wt.% illite) at high temperature. Although the stability of structures built from MEGT will be jeopardised at high temperature, a very low thermal diffusivity requires that fires must burn for many hours to compromise the strength of a typical dimension stone: tuffs are tough in the event of fire.


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Heap, M., Kushnir, A., Griffiths, L., Wadsworth, F., Marmoni, G. M., Fiorucci, M., Martino, S., Baud, P., Gilg, H. A. and Reuschlé, T. (2018) “Fire resistance of the Mt. Epomeo Green Tuff, a widely-used building stone on Ischia Island (Italy)”, Volcanica, 1(1), pp. 33–48. doi: 10.30909/vol.01.01.3348.
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Received 2017-12-04
Accepted 2018-05-02
Published 2018-05-07
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