FAQs: Dimension stone testing

Will Wesley, Scientific Officer

Will Wesley’s education background and exceptional skills in analysis place him as a unique specialist in analysing testing data and understanding the relationships between different physical properties of natural stone. 

Stone Initiatives answers your FAQs about dimension stone testing.

Is there a standard I can benchmark my stone test results against?

It ultimately depends on the test method, however, ASTM International has authored standard specifications for the main stone types: granite, marble, limestone, sandstone and travertine. These standard specifications provide benchmark physical property test values that are characteristic of stone that has been used successfully for general structural and building purposes. Generally, the test results covered in these specifications are water absorption capacity, density, abrasion resistance, compressive strength, modulus of rupture strength and/or flexural strength.

I am opening a new quarry site. What are the basic physical property tests I can have performed on my stone?

The basic suite of physical property tests that can be carried out on dimension stone include water absorption capacity/bulk specific gravity, flexural strength, modulus of rupture strength, compressive strength, abrasion resistance, and durability/resistance to salt attack. On a tight budget, a water absorption test and modulus of rupture strength is a good starting point for determining the basic physical properties of a stone type. See more on our Summary of Capabilities page.

Can you determine the composition and classification of my stone?

We can perform a detailed petrographic analysis with a polarising light microscope that will determine the stone’s mineral composition, textural features, geological name, commercial stone industry name, presence of deleterious minerals or asbestos, and most importantly will identify any other features of potential concern revealed in the analysis.

We can also facilitate X-ray diffraction analysis, which is a more basic compositional test that determines the crystalline components (minerals) present within the stone and highlights any potential asbestiform minerals.

My externally installed bluestone tiles are coming unstuck from the substrate and breaking, what is happening?

Large-format, thin bluestone tiles are known to be quite dimensionally sensitive. This may be due to moisture sensitivity or temperature-driven expansion or a combination of the two. We can perform a variety of dimensional stability tests prior to installation to help determine ideal adhesive selection and joint spacing to avoid such issues. Where a failure has already occurred, we can perform the same dimensional stability tests as part of an investigation to help determine the cause of failure.

How much stone is required for basic physical property testing?

Generally, for a basic suite of physical property tests, the standard sample requirement is 10 pieces 100 x 200 x 60mm for modulus of rupture strength, 10 pieces 100 x 350 x 30mm for flexural strength, and three pieces 300 x 300 x 50 for water absorption/bulk specific gravity, compressive strength, abrasion resistance and durability/resistance to salt attack. The sample requirements will differ if more or fewer tests are requested. When we provide a quote for a particular testing program, the sample requirement will be included. The sample quantity can also be modified if there is limited material available, however, this will typically be noted on the test result certificate.

If you have additional questions about dimension stone testing after reading these FAQs, or if you’d like to organise a quote for your project, visit our contact page to get in touch.

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