The aim of this research is to characterize the mortars of the Rui Barbosa House Museum, built in 1850, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using X-ray diffraction (XRD), gel-CSH determination, Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry (FTIR), Wavelength-Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometry (WDXRF), Thermo gravimetric analysis (TG-DTG), and granulometric analysis. Also, petrographic and physical characteristics such as porosity, water absorption, and apparent density of the mortars were used to identify the raw materials employed in their preparation. Mineralogical associations found are similar (quartz, calcite, kaolinite, microcline, muscovite, and albite) for the majority of samples and only vary in their proportions; the most prominent phases are quartz and calcite. The collected data, indicating that the binder is hydrated lime, lead us to conclude that the analyzed samples are lime mortars, discarding the possibility of cement as the binder material. Two samples, located on the corner of the building, which underwent repairs, present a differentiated behavior, with high levels of dolomite and the presence of pozzolanic material, with greater water absorption and higher density, indicating the use of a different mortar type. In addition, it was verified that the WDXRF and XRD methods are able to determine the trace element composition with comparable precision with respect to the methodological approach proposed by Teutonico (1988). In addition, it has been verified that the major pollutant causing degradation of building are sulfur emitted by the vehicles and saline spray.
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