2. The earth’s crust is composed of rocks. Rock
is a mineral mass of a more or less uniform
composition. It may consist of a single mineral
(monomineralic) or of several minerals
Monomineralic rocks are quartz sand, pure
gypsum, and magnesite
Polymineralic rocks are granite, basalt, and
3. Natural rock materials are widely used for
building purpose owing to their universal
occurrence and physical and mechanical
Rocks are the main source of material for the
manufacture of mineral binding materials, such
as gypsum, lime, cement and of artificial rock
materials, eg.,brick, glass, items for concrete
4. The origin and conditions of rock formation
predetermine their chemical and mineralogical
composition, crystalline structure and texture.
The three major classification are based on the
following aspects :
(1) Geological or genetic classification
(2) Physical classification
(3) Chemical classification
5. According to the geological classification, rocks
are subdivided into three large groups, igneous
rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic
(1) Igneous rocks :
Cooling and hardening of
molten magma result in the formation of igneous
rocks. Depending on the rate of cooling the sizes
of crystals are formed.
6. Granite, syenites, diorites and gabbros have
large crystals, while basalts, rhyolites and
andesites have small crystals.
Igneous rocks are generally very hard.
8. (2) Sedimentary rocks :
Transportation agents like
wind, water and ice may move the loose
weathered rock material and deposite them in the
form of layers called sediments. Such sediments
when subjected to heavy pressure undergo
compaction and cementation, resulting in the
Sedimentary rocks. Limestone, dolomite, shale,
sandstone, etc., are sedimentary rocks
10. (3) Metamorphic rocks :
Sedimentary rocks and to
some extent igneous rocks when subjected to
changes brought about by the combination of
heat, pressure and plastic flow ( called
metamorphism) undergo changes in the structure,
Texture and mineral composition, and this results
in the formation of metamorphic rocks. Gneiss,
schist, slate, marble, etc. are metamorphic rocks.
12. The basis for such a classification is the physical
properties of rocks, the manner and arrangement
of different particles and mass forming a stone.
They classified as follows:
(1) Foliated rocks
(2) stratified rocks
(3) Unstratified rocks
Foliated rocks :
These rocks shows definite paeallel arrangement of
minerals showing a tendency to split in a specific
Examples : metamorphic rock like gneiss, schist
13. Stratified rocks :
Stratified structure is formed due to the splitting
of parallel layers of sedimentary rocks. They
exhibit distinct layers which can be separated. The
plane of separation is called as a cleavage plane.
Examples : Limestone, slate, and sandstone
Unstratified rocks :
They are granular or crystalline structure and
become solid and cooling. They do not show any
sign of strata.
Examples : igneous rocks like granite, basalt, etc.
14. The presence of chemical constituents in the rocks
is the basis for their type of classification.
they are as follows :
(1) Argillaceous rocks
(2) Siliceous rocks
(3) Calcareous rocks
Argillaceous rocks :
In these rocks clay and alumina is the main
Examples of the argillaceous rocks are slate,
15. Siliceous rocks:
In these silica is the main constituent. The presence of
the silica in the free state is called sand, and in the
combined state is s silicate. Rocks containing silica in
the free state are harder, and those found in the
combined form are likely to be disintegrated.
Examples of the silicate rocks are sandstone,
Calcium carbonate or lime is the main constituents in
these rocks. They are readily acted upon by dilute
Examples are limestone, marble, etc.
16. Different civil engineering construction use
stone. It is necessary to find their suitability
under different condition. The following
properties need to be examined before their
17. (1) Appearance and colour :
Stones must look
good in appearance and be of uniform colour.
Such a quality is essential for stone to be used for
decoration work. Light coloured stones are
preferred as they resist weathering action in a
better way. Stones with iron oxide should not be
used as the presence of iron oxide disfigures the
stones and brings about disintegration.
18. (2) Strength :
Stones are used as a compression
member and should have sufficient compressive
strength. In general, all stones possess a
reasonable degree of strength. The crushing
strength of stone should be greater than
100 N/mm^2. igneous rocks have a strength of
around 100 N/mm^2 and some of the
metamorphic rocks also possess these strengths.
But sedimentary rocks have a lower strength.
19. (3) Weight :
in general, good building stones
should have a high weight to resist higher
compressive forces. Good building stones must
have a specific gravity greater than 2.70 . A heavy
stone possess more compactness and less
20. (4) Hardness and Toughness :
Stones must be
hard and tough so that they can resist wear and
tear. Hardness is assessed by scratching and
toughness by hammering. A good building stone
should have a wearing resistance less than 3%,
and if it is more than 3% it is not satisfactory.
Stones used for road work should be hard to
resist wear and tear.
21. (5) Porosity and Absorption :
All stones possess porosity. Stones that have a
porosity over a certain percentage are unsuitable
for building purposes. The presence of a higher
percentage of pores may absorb rain, which may
deteriorate the stone. A good stone should not
absorb water more than 0.6% by weight. It must
be capable of withstanding effects of atmosphere.
If stones in a cold climate absorb water, they may
freeze and even slt.
22. (6) Compactness :
A good stone have a compact,
fine, crystalline structure and must be strong. A
compact stone is capable of withstanding the
effect of external agencies effectively.
(7) Fineness of grain :
Stones that are fine grained
are suitable for moulding purposes. Such stones
are easily carved and dressed. Non-crystalline
structures stones are likely to disintegrate under
the action of natural agencies
23. (8) Resistance to fire :
Stones must be fire resistant,
i.e., they must retain their shape when subjected
to fire. Limestone resists fire up to about 800
degree C. Sandstone can resist fire in a better way.
Although argillaceous stones per poor in strength,
they are highly fire resistant.
24. (9) Durability :
Stones must be durable. Basically,
stones that have their natural bed perpendicular
to direction of pressure are durable. Durable
stones are those which are compact,
homogeneous, acid resistant and have negligible
25. (10) Dressing :
dressing is the act of shaping a stone
for decorative purpose or for other purposes. For
this, the stone should possess uniform texture and
softness so that they may be easily dressed. Hard
stone can’t be dressed
26. (1) Granite : it is a deep-
Seated igneous rock, hard,
durable and available in
different colours. It has
high crushing strength &
capable of sustaining high
27. (2) Basalt & trap : basalt and trap are also of
igneous origin. These are effective solid rocks
which have been formed on the earth’s surface in
the absence of pressure by rapid cooling of the
magma which also carries crystals of various
minerals. These are hard, tough and durable and
are available in different colours
28. (3) Limestone and chalk : These are sedimentary
rocks which have been formed of remnants of
seaweeds and living organisms consolidated and
cemented together. They are easy to work and
contain a high percentage of calcium carbonate.
29. (4) Sandstone : this is another form of
sedimentary rock formed by the action of
mechanical sediments. It shows a sandy structure
which is low in strength and easy to work with
the dress. This is available in different colours.
30. (5) Laterite : this is a
metamorphic rock and
is sandy clayey stone.
It is porous and soft. It
can be cut easily into
blocks and contains a
high percentage of
31. (6) Gneiss : it is a metamorphic rock which can be
easily split into thin slab and easy to work on.
32. (7) Marble : it is a metamorphic rock which can be
easily cut with a saw and can be curved.
33. (8) Slate : It is also a metamorphic rock which is
black in colour and can be split easily.
34. (9) Gravel : It is available in river beds in the form
of pebbles and is of different shape.
35. (10) Quartzite : it is a metamorphic rock which is
hard, brittle and crystalline. It is very durable.
36. For foundation, walls, columns, arches, lintels,
roofs, floors, etc.
For facing work of masonry.
For railway as ballast.
For concrete and road construction as coarse
For bridges as floors, piers, abutments,
retaining wall, etc.
For lighthouses and dams.
Granite is used for stone columns , road metal,
ballast for railways, etc. It is found in
Sandstone is used for building and ornamental
purposes and also as road metal . It is found in M.P.,
Rajasthan ,Tamilnadu etc.
It is used for flooring, roofing,pavements and in general
building construction.It is found in Punjab
It is used for flooring and pavement and not for major
purposes because of its weakness.It is found in
Karnataka,Gujarat and Tamilnadu.
It is used for ornamental purposes,flooring,facing works,etc.It
is found in Rajasthan,Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
42. Quarrying is the process by which stones are
obtained from rock beds. Quarry is the place from
which the stone is obtained.
Methods Of Quarrying
In soft rocks, stones are merely obtained by digging
with the help of hand tools.like,chisels,pick-
Most suitable for quarrying small, thin and regular blocks
of stones from rocks such as granite and gneiss. This
method is adopted by burning certain kinds of fuels and
the exposed surface of the portion of the rock to be
separated .On burning several hours continuously due to
unequal expansion of the rock, the rock gets separated
from the mass layer with a dull noise. The loosened rock
portions are broken into pieces of desired size and removed
with the help of pick axes and crow bars.
46. Soft stratified rocks can be removed by wedging as there rocks are in
the form of layers and are easy to split. Soft rocks are removed with the
help of pick axes an crow bars. Limestones, Marble, Slate are removed
by this simple method. A row of holes several centimeters apart is
made with the drill and the hand hammer, partly through the layer, or
stratum, perpendicular to its plane of stratification and along the line at
which it is desired to break the stone. Each hole in a long row is filled
with three wedges, shaped so that one may be driven down through
the others, the method being known as plug and feathers; by striking
each plug a sharp blow with a hammer, hitting them in succession, and
by repeating the operation several times, the combined splitting force
of the plugs and feathers finally becomes great enough to rupture the
This technique is employed for quarrying hard and compact rocks. Blasting is
done In some stages.
Boring: Holes are made with steel bar with a knife-edged ends called jumpers
or drilling machine. Water is poured in the hole regularly to soften rocks. Muddy
paste is removed by scrapping.
Charging: The drilled holes are dried completely. The drilled holes are charged
with an explosive of suitable capacity.
Tamping: A greased priming hole is placed inside the hole projecting a little
outside the hole, then filled up with damp clay or stone dust and tamped
sufficiently. Priming needle should be kept on rotating while tamping is going
on. Needle is taken out and space is filled with gunpowder. A fuse, rope of cotton
coated with tar is placed just touching the needle. The other end of the fuse is
ignited at a sufficient length.
The fuse is fired carefully. During the explosion, masses of stones around the
hole are removed. A properly packed explosive shall produce a dull sound
followed by displacing of the mass of rock around it.
49. Blasting should be carried out in early morning
or late evening hours
The danger zone of 200 m radius should be
marked with red flags
A maximum of 10 bore holes are exploded at a
time and not simultaneously.
51. Generally the stones obtained from quarrying have a
rough surface and are irregular in shape. The process
of bringing stones to a regular finish is known as
dressing. The purpose of dressing are as follows:
1.To set the stones in a regular shape and appearance.
2.To prepare the stones for a suitable site for easy
handling and transport.
3.To secure proper bedding in stone masonry.
53. Durability of stones depends on the environment at
which they are constructed. For proper durability
assurance, it is necessary to know the agencies which
Deteriorating Agencies Of Stones:
Rain is one among the main causes for wetness on
stones. This wetness is dried by the sun. The process of
wetting and drying causes deteriorating of stones.
In hot climate there are frequent changes in
temperature which results in deterioration. Similarly
Stones exposed to cold climate causes freezing of
55. Water in pores resulting in the expansion, which
causes splitting of stones.
Wind loaded with grit and dust strikes the stones and
causes wear of the stones. Also moisture penetrate into
the pores causes dampness resulting in deterioration.
Vegetation growth along the cleavages of joints of
stones release certain acids by the roots and thereby
Chemicals of different kinds move and react due to the
usage of different stone such as limestone and
sandstone, thus causing deterioration.
57. 6.Living organisms
Living organisms sometimes form In the joints of stones
and cause instability to the structure . Further, these
holes provide room for the accumulation of moisture
and thereby deteriorate the stones.
58. Preservation of stones is intended to protect the
structure against the action of weathering agents and
also to protect the good appearance of the face work.
This are the following ways to preserve the stones:
1.Voids existing in the pores are filled properly.
2.By coating with suitable oils like coal tar,linseed oil
3.By avoiding the moisture into the surface of the
4.Growth of plants on the joints of stones should be
5.Building materials which are inactive with stones
should be used.
59. 1.General building works
Stones used for foundation, walls and superstructure.
Stone with high mechanical strength and the pleasant
colors are widely used, such as sandstones.
2.Building exposed to high wind
Stones with a high crushing strength and the presence
of silica in addition to hardness should be preferred, as
such building are constructed near the sea or location
where more wind prevails.
60. 3.Building in industrial areas
Buildings are mostly subjected to polluted atmosphere
which may contain harmful gases, acids and moisture.
These elements leads to damage, Hence stones that could
sustain the effect of acidity and smoke on them are
preferred. Eg: granite, sandstone, slate and quartzite
4.Building exposed to heat and fire
Stones that have high fire-resisting properties or stones
which are free from calcium carbonate can resist fire.
So,this type of stone can be used in buildings which are
frequently susceptible to fire. Sand stone with fine grains
can moderate fire successfully without having serious cracks
5.Facing and architectural items
Facing slabs and stones ,parts of stairs and landings
,parapets and guard rail are made of slabs split from
natural stone and worked on.
61. 6.Road metals and railways ballasts
Road metals and railway ballasts are subjected to high
compression abrasion. Thus stones selected for such
purposes should be able to resist thrust, must be strong
and highly durable. Granite and quartzite preferred for
63. Buildings Stones must be tested to assess their
properties to use for various purposes. Some
Tests are simple which can be conducted in the
field and some can be tested only in a
laboratory. Accordingly they are grouped as
• Field Tests
• Laboratory Tests
64. Simple Tests that can be performed on the
stone because they are relatively simple. These
• Absorption Test
• Smith’s Test
• Toughness Test
• Field Hardness Test
• Acid Test
• Crystallization Test
65. The test is carried out as follows:
i. From the sample of stone, a cube weighing about 50gm is
prepared. Its actual weight is recorded as W1 gm.
ii. Cube is then immersed in distilled water for a period of 24 hrs.
iii. Cube is taken out of water and surface water is wiped off with a
iv. It is weighed again. Let the weight be W2 gm.
v. Cube is suspended freely in water and its weight is recorded. Let
this be W3 gm.
vi. Water is boiled and cube is kept in boiling water for 5 hours.
vii. Cube is removed and surface water is wiped off with a damp
cloth. Its weight is recorded. Let it be W4 gm.
From the above observations, values of the following properties of
stones are obtained.
66. Percentage absorption by weight after 24 hours =
Percentage absorption by volume after 24 hours =
Volume of displaced water =
Percentage porosity by volume =
Specific Gravity =
Saturation Coefficient =
67. Percentage '%' of water absorption should not
exceed 15%, otherwise stone is not suitable
68. This test is performed to find out the presence
of soluble matter in a sample of stone. Few
chips or pieces of stone are taken and they are
placed in a glass tube. The tube is then filled
with clear water. After about an hour, the tube
is vigorously stirred or shaken. Presence of
earthy matter will convert the clear water into
dirty water. If water remains clear, stone will
be durable and free from any soluble matter.
69. Hardness is the resistance of a stone to
indentation, rebound or scratch.
It is tested by a pen knife with the aid of Moh’s
scale of hardness.
70. Minerals Moh’s Scale Hardness test
easily scratched with
scratched by the thumb-
Calcite/ Marbles 3
not scratched by thumb-
nail but easily cut by
can be cut by knife with
greater difficulty than
can be cut only with
difficulty by knife
Orthoclase/ Feldspar 6
can be cut with knife
with great difficulty on
not scratched by steel,
Sapphire/ Corundum 9
72. Here, a sample of stone weighing about 50 to
100 gm. is taken. It is placed in a solution of
hydrophobic acid having strength of one per
cent and is kept there for seven days. Solution
is agitated at intervals. A good building stone
maintains its sharp edges and keeps its surface
free from powder at the end of this period. If
the edges are broken and powder is formed on
the surface, it indicates the presence of calcium
carbonate and such a stone will have poor
weathering quality. This test is usually carried
out on sandstones.
73. 4 cubes of stone with dimension 40mm are taken. Stones are
dried for 3 days and weighed. Then stones are immersed in
14% solution of Sodium Sulphate (Na2SO4) for 2 hours.
After this stones are dried at 100 degree Centigrade and
weighed. Difference in weight is noted .Process of drying,
weighing, immersion and reweighing is repeated at least 5
times. Each time, change in weight is noted and it is
expressed as a percentage of original weight.
PERCENTAGE OF WEAR SHOULD NOT EXCEED 2% FOR
74. These Tests are complex and require to be done
• Attrition Test
• Crushing Test
• Impact Test
• Laboratory Hardness Test
• Microscopic Test
• Freezing and Thawing Test
75. This test is done to find out the rate of wear of stones, which are used in road
construction. The results of the test indicates the resisting power of stones against the
grinding action under traffic.
The following procedure is adopted:
i. Samples of stones is broken into pieces about 60mm size.
ii. Such pieces, weighing 5kg are put in both the cylinders of Devil’s attrition test
machine. Diameter and length of cylinder are respectively 20cm and 34 cm.
iii. Cylinders are closed. Their axes make an angle of 30 degree with the horizontal.
iv. Cylinders are rotated about the horizontal axis for 5 hours at the rate of 30 rpm.
v. After this period, the contents are taken out from the cylinders and they are passed
through a sieve of 1.5mm mesh.
vi. Quality of material which is retained on the sieve is weighed.
vii. Percentage wear worked out as follows:
Percentage wear =
77. Samples of stone is cut into cubes of size 40x40x40
mm. sizes of cubes are finely dressed and finished.
Maximum number of specimen to be tested is
three. Such specimen should be placed in water for
about 72 hours prior to test and therefore tested in
Load is applied axially on the cube in a crushing
test machine. Rate of loading is 140 kg/sq.cm per
minute. Crushing strength of the stone per unit
area is the maximum load at which the sample
crushes or fails divided by the area of the bearing
face of the specimen.
79. This test is carried out to determine the
toughness of stone. This test requires an
'Impact Testing Machine'. In this test stones are
filled in test cylinder of diameter 25 mm and
height 25 mm. The cylinder is placed on
machine and steel hammer of weight 20 N is
allowed to fall on the specimen in cylinder. The
height of first fall is 1 cm, height of second fall
is 2 cm and so on. The height at which
specimen breaks is recorded. If specimen
breaks at 'n cm' then 'n' is the toughness index
81. For determining the hardness of a stone, the test is carried out as
i. A cylinder of diameter 25mm and height 25mm is taken out
from the sample of stone.
ii. It is weighed.
iii. The sample is placed in Dorry’s testing machine and it is
subjected to a pressure of 1250 gm.
iv. Annular steel disc machine is then rotated at a speed of 28 rpm.
v. During the rotation of the disc, coarse sand of standard
specification is sprinkled on the top of disc.
vi. After 1000 revolutions, specimen is taken out and weighed.
vii. The coefficient of hardness is found out from the following
Coefficient of hardness =
82. The sample of the test is subjected to
microscopic examination. The sections of
stones are taken and placed under the
microscope to study the various properties
• Average grain size
• Existence of pores, fissures, veins and shakes
• Mineral constituents
• Nature of cementing material
• Presence of any harmful substance
• Texture of stones etc.
• Fine Aggregates
• Coarse Aggregates
Cast in situ or in Molds
Can be precast with steel to be RCC blocks
• Portland/Gypsum/Magnesite cements
• 60:20:15 plaster in Powder, Pulverized
Marble,Potash Sulphate with 5% solution of glue
Mostly used in France
• Marble Chips
• White Cement
Precast or in situ
Used in Residential Buildings,Bathrooms,etc
88. Precast Tiles
Upper Surface made of Marble Chips
Available in Different Sizes and Colours
90. Made From Debris of limestone quarries by
Mixed with Lime made from dolomite and
heated in a closed retort up to 980˚C to drive
Slaked, Mixed with water and consolidated
into blocks under Pressure.it is then dried and
CO2 is admitted until Carbonization is
92. Can be used in areas where natural stone is costly
Desired Shape and size is obtained easily
Can be made in situ thus saving dressing and
Practically Defect Free
Cavities can be made for wiring or plumbing
Strength is Design Based