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The Effect of Fire on Building Materials: The Case-Study of the Varnakova Monastery Cells in Central Greece

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Laboratory of Materials Science & Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), 9 Iroon Polytechniou Str., Zografou Campus, 15780 Athens, Greece
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Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (I.G.M.E.), Mineralogy and Petrology Department, 1 Spyrou Loui, Acharnes, 13677 Eastern Attica, Greece
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Heritage 2019, 2(2), 1233-1259; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020080
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
The evaluation of the fire impact on building materials is of great scientific and socio-economic importance since fire can result in materials’ chemical and mechanical alterations, which leads to structural stability problems of historical and/or modern construction. This highly increases the cost of rehabilitation interventions. The case study of the Byzantine Monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Varnakova is an example of the fire effect on both historical and newer stone masonries. The Varnakova Monastery is a typical 19th century monastic complex and, during its long history, it has undergone multiple reconstructions after major catastrophic events that have taken place due to its strategic geographical position and its financial and spiritual significance for the region. The last big-scale renovation of the Monastery was conducted between the years 1992 to 2014. However, in January 2017, a devastating fire destroyed the largest part of the monastic cells’ quarter. In this work, a diagnostic study of the different construction phases’ materials comprising the masonries of the monastery cells in their present state is presented. The examination of a series of samples through analytical techniques, such as optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis, and total immersion tests, along with the use of non-destructive techniques in situ, such as Infra Red Thermography, Digital Microscopy, and Schmidt Hammer Rebound tests, shed light on the preservation state and on the decay of the diverse building materials. In addition, the impact of the fire on their properties was investigated. The results reveal the diversity of the materials used in the historical masonries throughout the centuries, while the combination of analytical and non-destructive techniques demonstrates the damages induced by the fire. View Full-Text
Keywords: stone; mortar; masonry; fire; NDT; IRT; SHR; microscopy; petrography; XRD; TG/DTA stone; mortar; masonry; fire; NDT; IRT; SHR; microscopy; petrography; XRD; TG/DTA
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MDPI and ACS Style

Delegou, E.T.; Apostolopoulou, M.; Ntoutsi, I.; Thoma, M.; Keramidas, V.; Papatrechas, C.; Economou, G.; Moropoulou, A. The Effect of Fire on Building Materials: The Case-Study of the Varnakova Monastery Cells in Central Greece. Heritage 2019, 2, 1233-1259. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020080

AMA Style

Delegou ET, Apostolopoulou M, Ntoutsi I, Thoma M, Keramidas V, Papatrechas C, Economou G, Moropoulou A. The Effect of Fire on Building Materials: The Case-Study of the Varnakova Monastery Cells in Central Greece. Heritage. 2019; 2(2):1233-1259. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020080

Chicago/Turabian Style

Delegou, Ekaterini T.; Apostolopoulou, Maria; Ntoutsi, Ioanna; Thoma, Marina; Keramidas, Vasileios; Papatrechas, Christos; Economou, George; Moropoulou, Antonia. 2019. "The Effect of Fire on Building Materials: The Case-Study of the Varnakova Monastery Cells in Central Greece" Heritage 2, no. 2: 1233-1259. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2020080

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