Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar, also known as lime and brick dust mortar, has been used in building construction for centuries. This ancient building technique has stood the test of time and is still used in many parts of the world today. In this article, we will delve deeper into the history, composition, and benefits of Surkhi mortar.

Its unique properties make it a popular choice for various construction projects, and understanding its properties can help builders and homeowners make informed decisions when choosing a mortar for their building needs. Let us explore the fascinating world of Surkhi mortar together.

Types of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is a type of mortar that is popularly used in many construction projects around the world. It is made by blending lime and powdered brick, known as surkhi. The proportions of lime and surkhi may vary depending on the specific application and desired strength.

Surkhi mortar has been used in construction for centuries and is still used today due to its numerous benefits. In this article, we will discuss the various types of surkhi mortar and their properties.

1. Lime-Surkhi Mortar

This is the most commonly used type of surkhi mortar. It is made by mixing lime and surkhi in a ratio of 1:2 to 1:3. This type of mortar is commonly used for masonry works, plastering, and pointing. Its strength and workability can be improved by adding a small quantity of cement or clay.

2. Lime-Surkhi-Tile Mortar

As the name suggests, this type of mortar is specifically used for tile installation. It is made by mixing lime, surkhi, and fine sand in a ratio of 1:1:3. The addition of surkhi helps to reduce shrinkage and improve the setting time, making it suitable for laying tiles.

3. Lime-Surkhi-Rubble Stone Mortar

Rubble stone masonry is a common method of construction in many regions. This type of mortar is specifically used for this type of construction. It is made by mixing lime, surkhi, and rubble stones in a ratio of 1:1:3. The sharp edges of the rubble stones help to create an interlocking bond, making the structure stronger.

4. Lime-Surkhi-Concrete Mortar

This is a special type of surkhi mortar that is used for filling the gaps between concrete blocks or bricks. It is made by mixing lime, surkhi, and cement in a ratio of 1:4:1. This type of mortar helps to increase the strength of the structure and prevent water from seeping through.

5. Lime-Surkhi-Mud Mortar

In areas where surkhi or cement is not easily available, the traditional mud mortar is used. This type of mortar is made by mixing lime, surkhi, and mud in a ratio of 1:1:6. It is commonly used for plastering and flooring in rural areas.

6. Lime-Surkhi-Stone Dust Mortar

Stone dust is a by-product of stone quarries and is easily available. This type of mortar is made by mixing lime, surkhi, and stone dust in a ratio of 1:1:3. It is commonly used for plastering and pointing on stone masonry.

7. Lime-Surkhi-Portland Cement Mortar

Portland cement is widely used in modern construction due to its high strength and durability. This type of mortar is made by mixing lime, surkhi, and Portland cement in a ratio of 1:1:6. It is commonly used for plastering and pointing in high-rise buildings.

Advantages of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar, also known as surkhi lime mortar, is a type of mortar made by mixing lime, surkhi (powdered burnt clay), and water.

This traditional mortar has been used in construction for centuries and still remains a popular choice for certain applications. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of using surkhi mortar in construction projects.

1. Cost-effective:

One of the main advantages of surkhi mortar is its cost-effectiveness. Surkhi is a by-product of burnt clay and is easily available in most places at a significantly lower cost than cement or other modern construction materials.

2. High durability:

Surkhi mortar has been used in construction for centuries and has proven to be highly durable. The addition of surkhi to lime mortar provides strength and durability to the mortar, making it suitable for use in load-bearing structures.

3. Good workability:

Surkhi mortar has a good workability due to the fine particles of surkhi which fill the voids between the lime particles, making it easier to spread and work with. This makes it an ideal choice for plastering, masonry, and other similar applications.

4. Good adhesion:

Surkhi mortar has good adhesion to masonry units, making it suitable for use in various construction applications. It forms a strong bond with the brick or stone, providing stability and strength to the structure.

5. Improves water resistance:

The addition of surkhi to lime mortar also improves its water resistance properties. This makes it an ideal choice for use in areas with high moisture content or for structures that need to withstand water exposure.

6. Environmentally friendly:

Surkhi mortar is an environmentally friendly option compared to cement mortar. It is made from natural materials and does not require high energy consumption for production, making it a sustainable choice for construction.

7. Allows for better customization:

Surkhi mortar can be easily mixed with other materials, such as cement, to modify its properties. This allows for better customization to suit the specific requirements of different construction projects.

8. Suitable for old buildings:

Surkhi mortar has been traditionally used in the restoration and repair of old and historic buildings. Its characteristics, such as good workability and adhesion, make it suitable for this purpose without altering the historic fabric of the structure.

Disadvantages of Surkhi Mortar

As a civil engineer, I have come across the use of Surkhi mortar in construction projects. While it does have its advantages, it also comes with its fair share of disadvantages. Here are some of the main disadvantages of Surkhi mortar that I have observed:

1. Lower strength:

Surkhi mortar has a lower compressive strength compared to traditional cement mortar. This is because Surkhi is a pozzolanic material and does not have strong binding properties on its own. Therefore, it cannot be used in heavy load-bearing structures.

2. Higher shrinkage:

Surkhi mortar tends to shrink more than cement mortar, especially during the drying and curing process. This can lead to cracks and affect the overall stability of the structure. As a result, frequent repairs and maintenance may be required.

3. Longer curing time:

Unlike cement mortar, Surkhi mortar takes a longer time to cure. This is because Surkhi reacts slowly with water and needs more time to reach its full strength. This can delay the construction process and increase project timelines.

4. Limited availability:

Surkhi is not readily available in all regions and may need to be transported from distant locations. This can add to the overall cost of the project and also increase the carbon footprint.

5. Susceptible to moisture:

Surkhi mortar is highly porous and can absorb water easily. In areas with high humidity or regular exposure to water, Surkhi mortar may become weak and lose its bond with the masonry. This can lead to structural damage and compromise the stability of the building.

6. Variation in quality:

The quality of Surkhi may vary depending on the source and processing methods. This can result in inconsistent properties and make it challenging to achieve a uniform mix for construction purposes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Surkhi mortar is a traditional building material that has been used for centuries in various regions of the world. Its unique properties, such as high compressive strength, durability, and eco-friendliness, make it a popular choice for construction purposes. Despite its declining usage due to the introduction of modern building materials, Surkhi mortar still holds value in the preservation of ancient heritage sites and in the construction of sustainable structures. By understanding its composition and benefits, we can continue to appreciate and utilize this traditional material in modern building practices.


FAQs about Surkhi Mortar

What is Surkhi Mortar?

Surkhi mortar, also known as lime and brick dust mortar, is a traditional building material made by blending lime and powdered brick (surkhi). It has been used in construction for centuries and is known for its unique properties.

What are the Types of Surkhi Mortar?

There are various types of Surkhi mortar, including Lime-Surkhi Mortar, Lime-Surkhi-Tile Mortar, Lime-Surkhi-Rubble Stone Mortar, Lime-Surkhi-Concrete Mortar, Lime-Surkhi-Mud Mortar, Lime-Surkhi-Stone Dust Mortar, and Lime-Surkhi-Portland Cement Mortar. Each type is tailored for specific construction applications.

How is Lime-Surkhi Mortar Used?

Lime-Surkhi Mortar, the most commonly used type, is employed for masonry works, plastering, and pointing. Its proportions of lime to surkhi can be adjusted based on the application, and additional materials like cement or clay may enhance its strength and workability.

What are the Advantages of Surkhi Mortar?

Surkhi mortar is cost-effective, durable, and has good workability and adhesion. It improves water resistance, is environmentally friendly, and allows for customization. It’s suitable for old buildings and is commonly used in restoration projects.

What are the Disadvantages of Surkhi Mortar?

Surkhi mortar has lower strength compared to traditional cement mortar, higher shrinkage, longer curing time, limited availability in some regions, susceptibility to moisture, and variation in quality depending on the source.

How is Lime-Surkhi Mortar Environmentally Friendly?

Surkhi mortar is considered environmentally friendly because it is made from natural materials, and its production does not require high energy consumption. This makes it a sustainable choice for construction.

In What Situations is Surkhi Mortar Particularly Useful?

Surkhi mortar is particularly useful in the restoration and repair of old and historic buildings. Its characteristics, such as good workability and adhesion, make it suitable for preserving the historic fabric of structures.

How Does Surkhi Mortar Contribute to the Preservation of Ancient Heritage Sites?

Surkhi mortar’s unique properties, including high durability and eco-friendliness, contribute to the preservation of ancient heritage sites. Its use in restoration helps maintain the authenticity and historical.

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