Soiling and decay of N.M.E.P. limestone tablets

H. A. Viles*, M. P. Taylor, T. J S Yates, S. W. Massey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The British National Materials Exposure Programme (N.M.E.P.) ran from 1987 to 1995 and involved exposure of a range of materials samples (including tablets of Monks Park and Portland Limestones) at over 20 sites around Britain for 1-, 2-, 4- and 8-year periods, under known climate and pollution conditions. Deterioration of the limestone tablets has previously been recorded in terms of weight change, contents of soluble salts, and visual soiling. In the present study samples from exposed and sheltered positions at Wells, Bolsover and Lough Navar have been studied using a spectrophotometer, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to investigate the distribution and nature of particulate material and its role in soiling and decay. Clearly, recognisable pollutant particles such as perforated cenospheres, are only rarely present. Organisms and organic remains, including filamentous microorganisms and pollen grains, are widely distributed. At each site, soiling has different characteristics in terms of composition and change over time related in part to differences in climate and pollution histories. There is no general link between degree of soiling and amount of decay (in terms of surface recession) as the nature of decay is a key influence on the relation between soiling and decay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron microscopy
  • Soiling
  • Spectrophotometer
  • Stone decay


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