Introduction of Surkhi Mortar

Introduction of Surkhi Mortar

Introduction of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar has been an important building material in the construction industry for centuries. It is an age-old technique that has been used in traditional architecture, and is now making a comeback due to its numerous benefits and sustainable nature. In this article, we will explore the history, composition, and uses of surkhi mortar, and how it can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for modern construction projects. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of surkhi mortar.

What is Surkhi Mortar

What is Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar, also known as fat lime-sand mortar, is a type of mortar used in masonry construction. It is made by mixing fat lime, also known as non-hydraulic lime, with sand and water. This mixture is then used to bind bricks or other building materials together to form walls or other structures.

Fat lime, unlike hydraulic lime, does not have the ability to set or harden underwater. Instead, it requires exposure to air to set and harden over time through a process called carbonation. This process involves the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which reacts with the lime to form calcium carbonate, essentially turning it into a type of limestone.

Surkhi, which is a type of finely ground burnt clay, is added to the mix to improve its workability, strength, and durability. It also helps in reducing shrinkage and cracking during the carbonation process. The proportion of surkhi to lime is usually 1:1, but it can vary depending on the quality of the lime and sand.

One of the main advantages of surkhi mortar is that it sets slowly, allowing masons to work with it for a longer period of time before it hardens. This makes it suitable for use in hot and dry climates where the mortar may dry out too quickly. It also has good water retention properties, which helps in maintaining a strong bond between the bricks.

Surkhi mortar is typically used for masonry work in areas where the quality of lime available is not suitable for making hydraulic lime mortar. It is also commonly used for repairs and restoration work on traditional buildings as it is more compatible with their original mortar.

However, surkhi mortar also has some limitations. It has lower compressive strength compared to hydraulic lime mortar, which makes it unsuitable for use in load-bearing structures. It also takes longer to set and gain strength, which can delay the construction process.

In summary, surkhi mortar is a traditional type of mortar that has been used for centuries in masonry construction. It is made from fat lime, sand, and surkhi, and is known for its workability, strength, and durability. Despite its limitations, it continues to be used in certain regions for its unique properties and compatibility with traditional buildings.

History of Surkhi Mortar

History of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is an ancient construction material that has been used for centuries in India and other South Asian countries. It is a type of cement, which is made by burning bricks or cow dung cakes in a kiln and then grinding them into a fine powder.

The history of Surkhi mortar can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which existed from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. Archeological evidence suggests that Surkhi was used as a binding material for construction during this period.

During the Mughal era in India (1526-1857), Surkhi mortar gained popularity and was extensively used in the construction of forts, palaces, and mosques. The Mughal emperors, who were known for their grand architectural creations, used Surkhi mortar in the construction of some of their most iconic structures, including the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal.

In addition to being used as a binding material, Surkhi mortar was also used for its thermal properties. It was mixed with lime to make a dense and insulating plaster, which helped regulate the temperature inside buildings, making them cooler in summers and warmer in winters.

Surkhi mortar continued to be used in the construction of various structures in India during the British colonial era. However, with the introduction of modern building materials and techniques, Surkhi lost its popularity and was replaced by cement and other materials.

However, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Surkhi mortar due to its environment-friendly and cost-effective nature. It is a sustainable material as it is made from waste products such as bricks and cow dung cakes, which would otherwise end up in landfills. It also has a lower carbon footprint compared to cement, which makes it a more eco-friendly option.

Surkhi mortar is now being used in the restoration and conservation of historical buildings and monuments, as well as in the construction of new buildings. It is also used in modern constructions as a substitute for cement in non-structural elements such as plastering, flooring, and brickwork.

In conclusion, Surkhi mortar has a rich history and has been an integral part of Indian architecture for centuries. Despite its decline in usage, it continues to hold value and is regaining its popularity due to its sustainable and cost-effective properties. As a civil engineer, it is important to understand the history and properties of traditional building materials like Surkhi mortar to incorporate them in modern construction practices and promote sustainable development.

Strength & Quality of Surkhi Mortar

Strength & Quality of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is a type of cement mortar commonly used in construction. It is made by mixing lime and surkhi (burnt clay) with water to form a paste. The addition of surkhi to lime mortar increases its strength and durability, making it a popular choice for masonry and plastering work.

Strength:

The addition of surkhi to lime mortar greatly improves its compressive strength. This is due to the presence of fine particles of burnt clay in surkhi, which act as fillers in the mortar. These particles help to fill the voids and increase the density of the mortar, making it more resistant to compressive forces.

The strength of surkhi mortar can vary depending on the quality and type of surkhi used. Surkhi with a high clay content is more effective in increasing strength compared to surkhi with a high sand content. The strength of surkhi mortar also depends on the ratio of lime to surkhi used. A higher proportion of surkhi results in a stronger mortar.

Quality:

Surkhi mortar has good workability, making it easy to use and apply. It can be easily molded into different shapes and can adhere well to masonry units. This makes it a preferred choice for decorative elements and intricate designs.

Surkhi mortar also has excellent durability. The addition of surkhi to mortar reduces its shrinkage and cracking tendency, making it more resistant to weathering and external forces. It also has good water resistance and does not disintegrate in the presence of moisture.

One of the major benefits of surkhi mortar is its low-cost compared to other types of mortar. Surkhi is a by-product of burnt clay bricks and is readily available in most construction sites. This makes it a cost-effective solution for building construction.

In terms of appearance, surkhi mortar has a creamy white color, giving a smooth and uniform finish to masonry work. It can also be colored using natural pigments to achieve different shades as desired.

In conclusion, surkhi mortar is a popular choice for construction due to its strength, durability, workability, and cost-effectiveness. Its use has been prevalent in many historical and heritage buildings, standing the test of time and reflecting the quality and performance of this type of mortar.

Preparation of Surkhi Mortar

Preparation of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is a type of mortar commonly used in masonry construction. It is a mixture of lime, surkhi (brick dust), and water. The use of surkhi mortar dates back centuries and has been used in the construction of numerous historical buildings and structures in India.

The primary ingredient in surkhi mortar is surkhi, also known as finely crushed burnt clay bricks. These bricks are usually made by burning clay in a kiln until they turn into a reddish-brown color. The bricks are then crushed into a fine powder to be used as a pozzolanic material in mortar mixtures.

The preparation of surkhi mortar starts with measuring and sieving the required quantities of lime and surkhi. The lime used in this mortar is usually classified as fat lime, which is high in calcium and low in magnesium. The ratio of lime to surkhi varies depending on the type of structure being constructed, but a commonly used mix is one part lime to three parts surkhi.

Next, the lime and surkhi are mixed together in a dry state and then wetted with water to form a workable paste. The amount of water used depends on the desired consistency of the mortar, which can range from stiff to flowing. It is essential to add the right amount of water to achieve a cohesive mix without making it too runny or dry.

The mortar is then left to rest for a few hours, known as slaking, to allow the lime to absorb the water and hydrate. During this time, the mixture will expand in volume, and any lumps or impurities present will be broken down, resulting in a smooth consistency.

After slaking, the surkhi mortar is ready for use in construction. It is primarily used for bedding bricks, stone blocks, and other masonry units. The mortar is applied in even layers, ensuring proper coverage and joint thickness.

One of the key advantages of using surkhi mortar is its strong adherence and bonding properties. It forms a durable and weather-resistant bond with masonry units, making it ideal for use in regions with high humidity or severe weather conditions.

In conclusion, the preparation of surkhi mortar involves a careful selection of materials, proper mixing, and sufficient curing time. The use of surkhi mortar not only adds strength to the masonry but also helps in the conservation of traditional construction techniques that have been used for centuries. It is an essential element in maintaining the aesthetic and historic value of many buildings in India.

Types of Surkhi Mortar

Types of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is a type of mortar that is commonly used in masonry construction. It is made by mixing slaked lime with surkhi, which is powdered burnt bricks. This type of mortar has been used in construction for centuries and is known for its strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Surkhi mortar has various types depending on the composition of materials used and their proportions. In this article, we will discuss the different types of surkhi mortar and their properties.

1. Traditional Surkhi Mortar

This type of surkhi mortar is commonly used in traditional masonry construction. It is made by combining surkhi with slaked lime in a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. Traditional surkhi mortar requires a longer curing time but offers high compressive strength and good weather resistance. It is suitable for use in masonry walls, plasters, and pointing works.

2. Cement Surkhi Mortar

This type of surkhi mortar is a mix of Portland cement, sand, and surkhi powder. The ratio of surkhi to cement and sand can vary from 1:1:6 to 1:2:9. Cement surkhi mortar offers better workability and high strength compared to traditional surkhi mortar. It is commonly used in the construction of load-bearing walls, concrete blocks, and for making concrete repairs.

3. Lime Cement Surkhi Mortar

This type of surkhi mortar is made by combining hydrated lime, cement, sand, and surkhi powder. The ratio of materials used can vary from 1:1:5:8 to 1:2:9:22. Lime cement surkhi mortar provides high strength, workability, and water resistance. It is commonly used for repairing concrete structures, plastering, and for constructing water-retaining structures.

4. Lime Pozzolana Surkhi Mortar

This type of surkhi mortar is made by blending slaked lime with pozzolanic material and surkhi powder. The ratio of materials used can vary from 1:1 to 1:2. Lime pozzolana surkhi mortar offers good strength and workability. It is commonly used in construction works where high water resistance is required, such as in the construction of dams, water tanks, and wastewater treatment structures.

5. Surkhi Bricks Mortar

This type of surkhi mortar is prepared using a mixture of surkhi and bricks. Bricks are crushed into a fine powder and then mixed with surkhi in a 1:1 ratio. Surkhi bricks mortar offers high compressive strength and good durability. It is suitable for load-bearing masonry walls, plasters, and for repairing brick structures.

In conclusion, surkhi mortar has various types that offer different properties and advantages. It is a preferred choice in masonry construction due to its low cost, high strength, and durability. The type of surkhi mortar used depends on the construction requirements and the availability of materials. Proper mixing, curing, and application of surkhi mortar can result in a strong and durable structure.

Advantages of Surkhi Mortar

Advantages of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is a combination of lime, sand, and finely ground brick or tile pieces, commonly used in the construction industry as a binding agent for masonry works and plastering. This unique type of mortar has several advantages, making it a popular choice among civil engineers. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of Surkhi mortar:

1. Cost-effective:
One of the major advantages of Surkhi mortar is its cost-effectiveness. The use of Surkhi as a binding material makes it relatively cheaper compared to other types of mortar like cement mortar. This cost-effective nature of Surkhi mortar makes it a suitable choice for low-cost and affordable housing projects.

2. Good workability:
Surkhi mortar has good workability, meaning it is easy to mix, apply, and work with. The addition of Surkhi helps to improve the plasticity and workability of the mortar, making it easier for masons to use on site. This results in faster construction and better quality workmanship.

3. High compressive strength:
Surkhi mortar has the ability to withstand high compressive forces, making it a suitable choice for load-bearing walls and structures. Surkhi, being a pozzolanic material, reacts with lime in the presence of moisture, forming cementitious compounds that improve the strength and durability of the mortar.

4. Good insulation properties:
Surkhi mortar has good insulation properties, which means it can help regulate the internal temperature of a building. This makes it an ideal choice for regions with extreme climatic conditions as it helps to keep the interior of the building cool during hot weather and warm during cold weather.

5. Better resistance to cracking:
Due to the use of Surkhi, which has excellent binding properties, the mortar has better resistance to cracking. This makes it suitable for earth quake-prone areas as well, where buildings need to have higher resistance to lateral forces.

6. Environmentally friendly:
Surkhi mortar is an eco-friendly option as it is made from natural materials such as lime, sand, and brick or tile pieces. This makes it a sustainable choice for construction, reducing the carbon footprint of a project.

7. Better adhesion to masonry units:
The addition of Surkhi to mortar enhances its adhesion to masonry units, resulting in stronger walls and structures. This helps to prevent the detachment of masonry units over time, enhancing the durability of the structure.

In conclusion, Surkhi mortar is a cost-effective, versatile, and sustainable option for construction, making it a popular choice among civil engineers. Its advantages such as good workability, high compressive strength, and better resistance to cracking make it suitable for various construction projects. Additionally, its insulating properties and environmental friendliness make it a desirable choice for modern construction practices.

Disadvantages of Surkhi Mortar

Disadvantages of Surkhi Mortar

Surkhi mortar is a type of lime mortar that is made by mixing lime, sand and surkhi (powdered burnt clay) together. In comparison to other types of mortar, surkhi mortar has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. While it has been used for centuries in construction, there are certain limitations and drawbacks that must be taken into consideration before deciding to use it in a project. Some of the disadvantages of surkhi mortar are:

1. Lower strength: Compared to cement mortar, surkhi mortar has lower compressive strength. This can make it unsuitable for load-bearing structures or areas that require high strength.

2. Longer curing time: Surkhi mortar requires a longer time to cure compared to cement mortar, which can delay the construction process. This can be a major disadvantage for projects with tight timelines.

3. Prone to shrinkage cracks: Surkhi mortar has a higher tendency to shrink upon drying, which can result in cracks forming on the surface. These cracks can compromise the structural integrity of the mortar and lead to water seepage.

4. Limited availability: Surkhi is not as widely available as lime or cement, which can make it difficult to source in certain areas. This can add to the cost and time required for the construction project.

5. Requires skilled labor: The preparation and application of surkhi mortar is a highly skilled task and requires experienced workers. This can make it challenging to use surkhi mortar in areas where skilled labor is not readily available.

6. Susceptible to moisture: Surkhi mortar is prone to moisture absorption, which can lead to deterioration of the mortar over time. This makes it unsuitable for use in areas with high levels of moisture or heavy rainfall.

7. Limited adhesion: Surkhi mortar has lower adhesion properties compared to cement mortar. This can lead to a weaker bond between the masonry units and the mortar, resulting in a weaker overall structure.

In conclusion, while surkhi mortar has been a popular choice for construction in the past, it is important to consider its disadvantages before using it in a project. It is important to carefully assess the requirements of the project and the site conditions before deciding to use surkhi mortar as a building material. In some cases, it may be more suitable to use other types of mortar that offer better strength and durability.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the introduction of surkhi mortar has brought a significant change in the construction industry. This traditional mortar has proven to be a cost-effective and eco-friendly option for building structures. Its unique properties, such as increased durability, improved workability, and reduced shrinkage, make it an ideal choice for both historical and modern construction projects. With the use of surkhi mortar, the traditional knowledge of building techniques has been revived and is now being passed on to future generations. It is a testament to the fact that traditional methods can still be relevant and beneficial in today’s world. Thus, the introduction of surkhi mortar is a positive step towards sustainable and efficient construction practices.


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