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Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438

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Construction and Building Materials


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Moisture induced length changes of tile adhesive mortars and their impact
on adhesion strength
Frank Winnefeld a,, Josef Kaufmann a, Erwin Hack b, Sandy Harzer a,c, Alexander Wetzel d,
Roger Zurbriggen e
a
Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Laboratory for Concrete and Construction Chemistry, berlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dbendorf, Switzerland
b
Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Laboratory for Electronics/Metrology/Liability, berlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dbendorf, Switzerland
c
Technical University Freiberg, Institute for Ceramics, Glass and Construction Materials, Leipziger Strae 28, 09596 Freiberg, Germany
d
University of Berne, Institute of Geological Sciences, Baltzerstrasse 1+3, 3012 Berne, Switzerland
e
Elotex AG, Industriestrasse 17a, 6203 Sempach Station, Switzerland

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The durability of tilings is affected by the size and type of ceramic tiles. We therefore performed a study
Received 23 August 2011 on adhesion and shrinkage mechanisms of large-sized fully vitried tiles (30 cm  30 cm), which were
Received in revised form 1 December 2011 applied on a concrete substrate using two different polymer-modied tile adhesive mortars (oor and
Accepted 4 December 2011
wall application). The spatial distributions of adhesion strength and mortar hydration degree, as well
Available online 30 December 2011
as the length changes of the composite specimen were determined under various curing conditions.
The deformations caused by wetting and drying events are restrained by the stiff tile. Thus, stresses result
Keywords:
especially at the edges of the tile, which may cause micro-cracking at the interface of tile and mortar
Polymer-modied mortarl
Tile adhesive
resulting in a reduction of adhesion strength.
Fully vitried tile 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Adhesion strength
Shrinkage
Expansion
Redispersible polymer powder
Cellulose ether
Cement

1. Introduction the tiles [2] and (ii) poor adhesion of the cementitious adhesive
mortar on the vitried surface of the tile. As a consequence, an
Ceramic tiling is commonly used in various application elds increasing amount of damages like adhesion failure of wall tiles
inside buildings or at the exterior like external cladding of facades, or cracking of the tiles are reported [35]. These problems lead
oor covering as well as for swimming pools. A tiling consists of to increasing requirements concerning the properties of a tile
ceramic tiles, which are xed generally with a polymer-modied adhesive and to the application process [1,3,4,6,7].
cementitious adhesive mortar to the substrate, e.g. concrete. The The climatic conditions (moisture, temperature) increase the
joints between the tiles are usually lled with a joint grout. A complexity of the system, because they are varying during daily
key issue to use ceramic tiles is besides aesthetic aspects their gen- and yearly cycles. They may also vary within a tiling or even from
erally low water absorption, providing a high durability. The trend substrate to tile and, especially in the case of large tiles, from rim
to use fully-vitried, large-sized stoneware tiles has increased in to center of the individual tile. The local conditions cause mois-
the recent years [1]. Due to their low porosity and water absorp- ture and hydration gradients across and parallel to the mortar
tion of less than 0.5 wt.% they are frost resistant and thus recom- bed [811]. The gradients inuence the hygrical and thermal
mended for the application in the outside area. The large formats shrinkage and expansion behavior, initiating micro-cracks prefer-
are applied for mainly aesthetic reasons. entially at the edges of the tiles, where the highest shear stresses
However, technical problems appear which are related (i) to between tile and adhesive mortar occur [7,1113]. Those shear
higher shear forces upon deformations due to the large size of stresses may cause a delamination of the tile at this position, lead-
ing to a poor or even a complete loss of adhesion. Especially in
exterior application, stresses induced by the weathering condi-
Corresponding author. Tel.: +41 58 765 4535; fax: +41 58 765 4035. tions may cause a more rapid progress of failure development
E-mail address: frank.winnefeld@empa.ch (F. Winnefeld). [9,11,1417].

0950-0618/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2011.12.023
F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438 427

The interface between the tile adhesive mortar and the tile is Table 1
generally the weakest part of the composite system substrate tile Composition of the tile adhesives (in wt.%).

adhesive ceramic tile. The hydration and the water transport Material F1 W2
phenomena (drying, wetting) of the tile adhesive mortar are the CEM I 52.5 R 35.0 35.0
key parameters with regard to adhesion properties. Quartz sand 0.10.6 mm 15.0 15.0
Generally, the main components of a tile adhesive consist of a Quartz sand 0.10.3 mm 31.6 31.6
cementitious binder, mineral llers, ne aggregates and organic Dolomite ller (<0.05 mm) 15.0 15.0
Unmodied cellulose ether 0.4
additives, mainly redispersible polymer powder (RPP) and cellu- Modied cellulose ether 0.4
lose ether. Industrial formulations are usually more complex and Redispersible polymer powder 3.0 3.0
contain additional components [7,1820]. Redispersible polymer Sum of dry components 100.0 100.0
powders are produced by spray drying of polymer dispersions. Water 25.0 26.0
Added to a dry mix mortar, they redisperse in water during mixing Water/cement ratio 0.714 0.743
of the fresh mortar. When the mortar is drying by ongoing cement
hydration and vaporization of excess water, RPP form latex lms
[9,11,12,18,19,2127]. The lm formation takes place in the three 2. Materials

stages coagulation, deformation and coalescence [28], with the The composition of the tile adhesives is shown in Table 1. Two different formu-
rst two stages being reversible [29]. Those latex lms improve lations were used: F1 for oor application and W2 for wall application. Both contain
workability and exibility of the mortar as well as its adhesion Portland cement, llers and aggregates, methyl cellulose and redispersible polymer
to the substrate and the tile. In particular, the addition of RPP in- powder (RPP). The redispersible powder is based on a polyvinyl alcohol stabilised
EVA (ethylenevinyl acetate) polymer dispersion, spray dried with polyvinyl alco-
creases the consistency [30,31], lowers compressive strength and
hol as redispersing aid and mineralic anti-cacking agent. The main difference be-
E-modulus compared to a plain mortar with the same water/ce- tween the two mortars is the type of methyl cellulose used. For the oor
ment ratio, whereas the effect on the exural strength seems to de- application, unmodied methyl cellulose (methylhydroxyethyl cellulose, Hppler
pend on the individual mix design and on the RPP chemical viscosity: 15000 mPa s, ne grained <100 lm) is used, whereas for the wall appli-
composition [18,3033]. The cement hydration process is generally cation a modied product (modied methylhydroxyethyl cellulose, Hppler viscos-
ity: 10000 mPa s, ne grained <125 lm) is applied in order to provide anti-sag
inuenced by RPP. Depending on their chemistry, often retardation properties to the mortar. Both mortar formulations comply with C2 quality accord-
[25,3436], but also acceleration [30,37] are reported. The main ing to European standard EN 12004.
purpose of the RPP addition is to increase the bond strength of The fully-vitried stoneware tiles used have dimensions of 298 mm 
the interface between adhesive mortar and tile [9,11,18 298 mm  8 mm and belong to group BIa according to EN 14411. According to
the technical data sheet of the Austrian Tiling Association (sterreichischer Fliesen-
20,24,3840].
verband) [53] a large-sized tile is dened as a tile with at least one side measuring
Microstructural investigations revealed that the latex is distrib- 35 cm or more. Some producers of dry mortars declare large size tiles from
uted homogeneously in the mortar matrix, improving cohesion and 40 cm  40 cm onwards or with a minimum square size of 0.1 m2. Thus, with
adhesion properties of the tile adhesive. Latex lms are also able to 30 cm  30 cm tiles we are slightly below these minimum sizes but still near to
bridge shrinkage cracks between tile and adhesive mortars what is dened as large format. We decided to take a 30 cm  30 cm format, be-
cause preliminary tests have shown that such a size still can be handled and allows
[11,17,24]. The durability of latex lms in cementitious mortars to reproduce strength data in the laboratory.
is generally high [9,19,41], some polymer dispersions however The tiles used exhibit water absorption levels less than 0.5 wt.%. Their rear side,
are reported to interact with the calcium hydroxide originating the contact area to the mortar, has a texture with ribs which is characteristic for
from cement hydration, leading to some hydrolysis [34,42]. Also such a product and is partly covered by a white engobe based on MgO. In contrary
to the previous study of Wetzel et al. [12], where the rear side of the tile was
strength decrease and reduction of deformability during humid
abraded in order to remove the ribs and the engobe, the tiles were used as deliv-
or wet storage due to water uptake and softening of the latex do- ered. The inuences of a structure at the rear side of the tile and of the engobe
mains are reported [9,18,43,44]. are discussed in detail elsewhere [52].
Cellulose ethers are part of the mortar formulation mostly due Concrete slabs with dimensions of 400 mm  400 mm  38 mm according to
to workability reasons as they improve water retention, act as EN 1323 are chosen as the substrate. For the jointing of the specimens for wall
application a commercial product was applied.
thickening agent and introduce air voids into the fresh mortar
[27,4549]. Furthermore they as well inuence cement hydration,
exhibiting a retarding effect [35,47,48,50]. They also form lms in 3. Experimental
the hardened mortar, but in contrary to latex lms, cellulose ether
lms are easily water soluble and can be transported within the 3.1. Tile adhesive mortars
mortar structure, leading to local enrichments at the interface be-
tween mortar and substrate [9,17]. For mixing, a spiral agitator with a diameter of 80 mm and a
The adhesion and failure mechanisms of polymer modied tile mixing speed of 750 rpm was used. 1.3 kg of dry mortar were
adhesives under various climatic conditions are currently being added to the respective amount of water in a plastic vessel of
investigated in a joint research project focussed on laboratory 160 mm diameter. The fresh mortar was machine-mixed for 30 s,
and eld studies [1,11,12,17,51,52]. In this study, in order to inves- then hand-mixed with a spatula for 15 s and again machine-mixed
tigate the inuence of curing conditions on hydration and moisture for 30 s. The mortar was allowed to rest for 5 min, and then hand-
gradients as well as on the resulting properties (adhesion strength, mixed for another 15 s.
shrinkage), the characteristics of two tile adhesive mortars (wall About 10 g of the freshly mixed mortar were transferred into
application and oor application, respectively) in the system tile glass ampoules and placed inside a conduction calorimeter (Ther-
adhesive mortar concrete substrate are examined, using a com- mometric TAM Air) in order to measure the hydration heat ow
posite specimen with a single tile (30 cm  30 cm). Adhesion at 20 C for 48 h. Plain Portland cement paste prepared using the
strength is measured at different lateral positions of the tile apply- same cement as in the mortar formulations (water/cement ra-
ing various curing regimes and curing times and compared to the tio = 0.50) was also evaluated as a control.
values obtained from the standard testing on 5 cm  5 cm tiles. Fresh mortar density and air void content were determined
Length change measurements are performed on the tile and on according to EN 1015-6 and EN 1015-7, respectively. Standard
the upper and lower sides of the concrete slab. The vertical and lat- 40 mm  40 mm  160 mm prisms were prepared according to
eral gradients of cement hydration are studied by thermogravimet- EN 196-1 and cured in the mold at 20 C and 95% relative humidity
ric analysis (TGA). for 24 h. The prisms were demolded afterwards and stored at 20 C
428 F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438

and 35%, 70% and 90% relative humidity until testing. Flexural and and the trowel for wall application (mortar W2) a = 8/b = 8/
compressive strength were measured after 2 and 28 days. Youngs c = 8 mm (C4), respectively, as dened in Kille [57], see Fig. 1.
modulus, shear torsion modulus and Poisson ratio were measured The time between application and tile inlaying was set to ve min-
with an ultrasound device (Labek, type elastometer) on prisms utes. After inlaying, the tile was loaded with a weight of 33 kg for
cured at 20 C and 70% relative humidity after 2 and 28 days using 30 s. The mortar for wall application was jointed 1 day after appli-
the resonance frequency method according to Kottas [54]. cation using a commercial joint grout (type CG2 according to EN
In order to monitor shrinkage, plug gauges were glued with an 13888). The jointing was performed only on the two opposite sides
epoxy resin on the prisms directly after demolding. The distances rectangular to the troweling directions; the other two sides were
between the plug gauges (100 mm) were measured at periodic left without joints.
time intervals by a digital micrometer [55]. Hygrical length The shape of the trowel inuences the nal properties of the
changes (expansion and subsequent shrinkage) were determined system, as ribs and grooves are produced depending on the trowel
in the same way on samples, which were stored previously at geometry. These ribs are squeezed during tile inlaying, inuencing
20 C and 70% relative humidity. Hygrical expansion was measured the contact between tile and mortar. This is illustrated in Fig. 1
while storing the mortars at 20 C under water for 7 day; water using glass tiles.
absorption was measured in parallel. The subsequent shrinkage The composite samples were rst cured for 7 days at 23 C and
was monitored for another 91 days at 20 C and 70% relative 50% relative humidity. Afterwards three different storage condi-
humidity. Thermal expansion coefcients were determined on tions were applied: (i) dry: at 23 C and 50% relative humidity
samples stored at 20 C and 70% relative humidity for 91 days be- according to EN 1348, (ii) wet: storage in water at 23 C according
tween 5 C and 60 C according to [56], method A5M. to EN 1348, and (iii) alternating: one cycle consists of 14 days at
23 C/50% relative humidity and 14 days at 23 C in water.
3.2. Tile and concrete At the date of testing, the sample was cut for adhesion strength
and TGA measurements. Spatially resolved adhesion strength was
Specimens 8 mm  40 mm  160 mm were cut from a tile, and performed using the method of Wetzel et al. [12]. The composite
specimens 38 mm  40 mm  160 mm were cut from a concrete sample was rst cut in four quadrants, then on each quadrant
slab. Youngs modulus, shear torsion modulus, Poisson ratio, hygri- notches were cut through the tile and the mortar, which yielded
cal length change, water absorption and thermal expansion coef- areas of 42 mm  42 mm, on which an individual pull-out test
cients were determined using the methods described in according to EN 1348 was performed (Fig. 2). For comparison the
Section 3.1. adhesion strengths were tested also using 5 cm  5 cm tiles as de-
ned in EN 1348.
3.3. Composite samples concrete substrate - tile adhesive mortar - tile The rear sides of some of the pulled-off tiles from adhesive
strength testing were examined by scanning electron microscopy
The concrete substrate was stored for at least 28 days at 23 C (SEM) using a Zeiss EVO-50.
and 50% relative humidity before application. In order to achieve For thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), samples of the tile adhe-
a reproducible sample preparation, an application gauge was used sive mortar were removed from the remaining strips at three posi-
as described in Wetzel et al. [12]. The freshly mixed mortar was ap- tions (close to the rim, close to the center and at an intermediate
plied to the concrete slab in the following way: First, a thin contact position), and material at two heights (contact area to the tile at
layer of mortar was applied by means of a scraper. Afterwards a a distance of 00.5 mm from the tile and bulk mortar at a distance
second, thicker layer of mortar was applied and combed three of 12 mm from the tile) was sampled. The samples were dried for
times using a notched trowel, which was held at an angle of 60 be- 1 day at 40 C and then gently ground in an agate mortar before
tween trowel and substrate. The trowel for the oor application analyses. TGA was carried out under an air ow of 50 ml/min on
(mortar F1) had the dimension of a = 7/b = 20/c = 12 mm (M1), about 100 mg of sample in 150 ll platinum crucibles using a

Fig. 1. Dimension of trowels used for (a) oor and (b) wall application. The resulting structural patterns of the adhesive mortars are illustrated by the use of glass tiles
30 cm  30 cm.
F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438 429

Fig. 2. Experimental setup of (a) spatial resolved adhesion test and (b) length change measurement on composites specimen with ceramic tiles (30 cm  30 cm). The metal
plugs for length change measurement on the rear side of the concrete slab are located at the same position than those on the top side.

Mettler-Toledo TGA/SDTA 851 instrument at a heating rate of the sample at various positions (tile, mortar, concrete at the
10 K/min between 30 C and 1000 C. rim and at the center of the tile, respectively).
Infrared thermography [16,5860] was applied to obtain infor- Length changes were measured using separate specimens at
mation on the moisture distribution between tile, tile adhesive and several positions on the tile and on both sides of the concrete slab.
concrete slab using an infrared camera. The method is based on the Plug gauges (distance  100 mm) were glued on top of the tile and
measurement of the evaporative cooling of the material surface. on top and bottom of the concrete slab (Fig. 2). The initial distances
The signal depends on various parameters [58], namely water on the tile and on the concrete slab were measured prior to appli-
evaporation, increased heat capacity of moist materials and optical cation using a digital micrometer [55]. After application the length
absorption coefcient increasing versus moisture; also the thermal changes were monitored at periodic time intervals. During dry
conductivity plays a role. Thus the obtained data are only discussed storage, also the weight losses of the composite samples due to
qualitatively. Samples were prepared and cured as for adhesive drying were monitored.
strength testing. Then they were sawed (not completely, but in
depths of two thirds of the tile and concrete) in the center of the
4. Results
tile and 75 mm right and left from the center. Afterwards, the sam-
ples were fractured in a climate of 20 C/35% relative humidity, and
4.1. Tile adhesive mortars
at the same time the infrared camera (thermal resolution < 0.1 K)
was used to record a movie (one image per second, total time
The tile adhesive mortars exhibit a signicantly slower hydra-
6 min) in order to monitor the decrease of temperature due to
tion kinetics than a plain cement paste made from the same CEM
the evaporation of the free water present in the specimen. Fig. 3
I 52.5 R, as shown by isothermal conduction calorimetry (Fig. 4).
shows the experimental setup. From the obtained movie, data
The maximum of the main hydration peak is reached after 9 h in
was extracted in order to compare the temperature decrease in
the case of the plain paste, whereas in the mortars the maximum
is reached after 26 h in case of F1, and 22 h in the case of W2,
respectively. This retarding effect is mainly due to the cellulose
ether [61]. The mix composition of both mortars differs, besides
a slightly higher water/cement ratio in case of W2, only by the type
of cellulose ether used. Thus, the modied CE used in mortar W2

5.0

4.5
OPC, w/c=0.50
4.0
heat flow / mW/g cement

F1, w/c=0.714
3.5 W2, w/c=0.743

3.0

2.5
tile
mortar 2.0
concrete fractured
1.5

concrete sawed 1.0

edge center 0.5

0.0
0 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48
hydration time / h
Fig. 3. Experimental setup for infrared thermography. The detail gives an example
for a single thermography image of composites specimen with mortar W2 after Fig. 4. Conduction calorimetry of tile adhesives F1 and W2 in comparison to plain
28 days of dry storage, 350 s after the specimen was fractured. ordinary Portland cement paste (OPC).
430 F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438

causes less retardation than the unmodied CE in F1. In practice, ratio and their high cement content, see Fig. 6. The shrinkage de-
one would use hardening accelerators such as calcium formate pends strongly on the curing conditions; it increases with decreas-
[62] or rapid setting or hardening binder formulations [6365] to ing relative humidity as more water is able to evaporate more
avoid this generally undesired retardation. rapidly from the mortars. Tile adhesive F1 shows always a higher
Fresh mortar density and air void content of F1 are 1.54 g/cm3 shrinkage than W2, despite its lower content of mixing water. On
and 20 Vol.-%, the values for W2 are 1.73 g/cm3 and 14 Vol.-%, one hand this might be due to its higher air void content, allowing
respectively. The modied CE in W2 introduces less air than the a faster drying. On the other hand more shrinkage in F1 could also
unmodied CE in F1, which leads also to a higher fresh mortar be due to its compared to W2 lower elastic modulus to resist the
density. drying stresses.
Fig. 5 shows exural and compressive strength of the tile adhe- Table 2 shows the results of the various physical testing meth-
sive mortars after 2 and 28 days of curing at various humidities. ods performed on the tile adhesives. Mortar F1 exhibits higher val-
There is no clear trend visible concerning the relative humidities. ues of adhesion strength than mortar W2; dry storage leads to
It seems that tile adhesive W2 reaches slightly higher strengths higher values than wet storage. These effects will be discussed la-
than F1 after 28 days due to its lower air void content. Both mor- ter in chapter 4.3.6. Youngs modulus and shear torsion modulus
tars exhibit a quite high shrinkage due to their high water/cement correlate with compressive strength; mortar F1 exhibits lower

(a) 6
(b) 20

compressive strength / MPa


18
flexural strength / MPa

5 28 d
16
28 d
14
4
F1 W2 12 F1 W2
3 10
2d 8
2 2d
6
4
1
2
0 0
35 70 90 35 70 90
relative humidity / % relative humidity / %

Fig. 5. (a) Flexural and (b) compressive strengths of the tile adhesive mortars after 2 and 28 days at 20 C and different relative humidities.

time / d time / d
0 20 40 60 80 100 0 20 40 60 80 100
0.0 0.0
20 C/90% r.H. 20 C/90% r.H.

-0.5 -0.5

(a) F1 (b) W2
length change / mm/m

length change / mm/m

-1.0 -1.0

-1.5 -1.5 20 C/70% r.H.

20 C/70% r.H.
-2.0 -2.0

20 C/35% r.H. 20 C/35% r.H.


-2.5 -2.5

-3.0 -3.0

Fig. 6. Shrinkage of tile adhesive mortars (prisms 40 mm  40 mm  160 mm), (a) F1 and (b) W2 at different relative humidities.

Table 2
Properties of tile adhesives, tile and concrete slab.

Tile adhesive F1 Tile adhesive W2 Tile Concrete slab


Adhesion strength acc. to EN 1348 (MPa) 2.83 (28 days dry) 1.57 (28 days wet) 1.57 (28 days dry) 0.92 (28 days wet)
Youngs modulus (GPa) 6.8 (2 days) 8.2 (2 days) 63.3 32.6
9.8 (28 days) 12.2 (28 days)
Shear torsion modulus (GPa) 2.9 (2 days) 4.1 (28 days) 3.4 (2 days) 4.7 (28 days) 26.0 13.4
Poisson ratio () 0.18 (2 days) 0.19 (28 days) 0.21 (2 days) 0.20 (28 days) 0.22 0.21
6
Thermal expansion coefcient/10 (K) 9.7 10.1 5.8 6.4
Water absorption (wt.%) 13.1 9.2 0.21 4.1
Water absorption (vol.%) 18.2 15.2 0.52 10.2
*
Hygric expansion (mm/m) +0.52 +0.57 +0.11
*
Hygric shrinkage (mm/m) 0.74 0.74 0.12
*
Absolute values of hygric length changes below 0.02 mm/m.
F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438 431

values for the tile adhesives. The tile itself shows almost no hygric
length changes due to its very low water absorption.

tile
4.3. Composite samples concrete substrate tile adhesive mortar tile
mortar
4.3.1. Scanning electron microscopy
Fig. 7 shows a SEM image of the surface of the pulled-off tile
after adhesion strength testing of sample F1 after 28 days storage
under dry conditions. The location of the sample is close to the cen-
ter of the tile. The pull-off tests predominantly reveal adhesion fail-
engobe ure. However, at some locations without engobe partially cohesion
failure is observed also, as small mortar residues can be observed
200 m on the rear side of the tile, as shown in Fig. 7. In the zone without
engobe, relicts of the tile adhesive mortar can be recognized, indi-
cating a partly cohesive failure. In contrary the area with the eng-
Fig. 7. SEM image of the rear-side surface of the pulled-off tile after adhesion
obe is free of mortar relicts, indicating an pure adhesion failure.
strength measurement, composite sample with tile adhesive F1, stored 28 days dry.
The sample is located close to the center of the 30 cm x 30 cm tile. Fig. 8 shows a detail of the mortar relicts of the same sample.
The secondary electron image shows the surface of the sample
and thus can be used to observe the polymer lm, as those elec-
trons do not penetrate deeply into the sample (Fig. 8a). The back-
values than W2. Thermal expansion coefcients are similar for both scattered electrons penetrate more deeply and show only the pore
mortars and within the range typical for cementitious mortars space below the polymer lm, but not the polymer itself (Fig. 8b).
and concretes [56]. Tile adhesive F1 has higher water absorption It is clearly visible that the latex lms are present at the tile-mortar
than W2. Both show a quite high hygric expansion, which is prob- interface, providing a bonding between the mortar and the tile.
ably due to the high cement content in the formulation. The abso-
lute value of the subsequent drying shrinkage is higher than the
4.3.2. Hydration degree of the tile adhesive
hygric expansion, as the renewed hydration, especially at low de-
The portlandite content of the tile adhesive was taken as a mea-
grees of hydration, causes an increased volume of ne capillary
sure of the hydration degree depending on curing regime and posi-
and gel pores, which results in an enhanced capillary shrinkage
tion under the tile, see Fig. 9. The portlandite contents at the
[9,66].
interface to the tile were measured as well, but not shown in
Fig. 9. They exhibit mainly slightly higher values compared to
4.2. Tile and concrete the bulk mortar, as the binder fraction of the tile adhesive is en-
riched at the interface to the tile[11,12,24,51].
In Table 2, the measured physical parameters of the tile and the In tile adhesive F1 (Fig. 9a) cured dry for 7 days the portlandite
concrete slab are compared to the corresponding data of the tile content decreases from the center to the rim. This leads to a quite
adhesives. Both tile and concrete exhibit a signicantly higher poor degree of hydration at the rim. After 28 days dry storage the
Youngs modulus and shear torsion modulus than the adhesives; hydration degrees at the center and between center and rim have
the values for the tile are about two times higher than those of increased by about 50%, whereas close to the rim the portlandite
the concrete. Thermal expansion coefcients for tile and concrete contents increased only by about 30% due to the lack of water.
are similar; they are about 40% lower than the values for the tile After 28 days curing under water the hydration degree is as well
adhesives and comparable to those given in the literature for increased with respect to 7 days. Compared to the dry curing, the
fully-vitried ceramic tiles, e.g. [3,20] or cementitious materials distribution of the portlandite is much more uniform between cen-
[56]. Water absorption of the concrete (4.1 wt.% or 10.3 Vol.-%) is ter and rim. On one hand, enough water for hydration is provided.
lower than the values for the adhesives. The water absorption of On the other hand the portlandite might be leached out especially
the tile (0.21 wt.% or 0.52 Vol.-%) is very low and within the stan- at the rim position. The alternating storage for 56 days gives port-
dard requirement of <0.5 wt.% according to EN 14411. The hygric landite values which are in between the values for dry and wet
length changes of the concrete slab exhibit only about 20% of the storage.

(a) (b)

polymer film pore

20 m 20 m

Fig. 8. SEM image of a mortar residue on the pulled-off tile after adhesion strength measurement, composite sample with tile adhesive F1, stored 28 days dry, (a) secondary
electron image (SE), (b) backscattered electron image (BSE). The sample is located roughly in the middle between center and rim of the 30 cm  30 cm tile.
432 F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438

7 7
(a) F1 (b) W2
6 6
portlandite in mortar / m.-%

portlandite in mortar / m.-%


5 5

4 4

3 3

2 7 d dry 2 7 d dry
28 d dry 28 d dry
1 28d wet 1 28 d wet
56 d alternating 56 d alternating
0 0
20 16 12 8 4 0 20 16 12 8 4 0
distance from the center of the tile / cm distance from the center of the tile / cm

Fig. 9. Portlandite contents of the tile adhesives in the bulk mortar of (a) F1 and (b) W2 depending on the distance to the center of the tile and storage conditions. The values
at the tile-mortar interface are mostly slightly higher (enriched with portlandite) than those of the bulk mortar.

In general, tile adhesive W2 (Fig. 9b) shows the same trends as tribution of temperature decrease after 350 s of the composite
F1. However it exhibits lower portlandite contents than F1, espe- specimen with W2 after 28 days of dry storage is shown. There is
cially at dry conditions. This could be explained by the different not much difference between the individual components and the
trowel used for the application of W2, which leads to a higher con- positions (center vs. rim), however, the tile always shows the low-
tent of cavities compared to F1 (see Fig. 1). Thus, the drying of the est temperature decrease, as it contains almost no absorbed water
composite specimen with W2 probably proceeds more rapidly, and due to its low porosity. Its temperature decrease is mainly caused
insufcient amounts of water could be available at dry curing con- by the moisture evaporation of the adjacent tile adhesive mortar.
ditions for reaching high hydration degrees. The higher air void As a trend the temperature decrease of the concrete and the tile
content of F1 compared to W2 seems to play a minor role with re- adhesive mortar is slightly higher at the center than at the rim,
spect to drying behavior of the composite specimen. indicating higher moisture content at the center of the specimen.
The wet cured samples (Fig. 11c and d) exhibit a higher tempera-
4.3.3. Moisture distribution ture decrease after 360 s. In this case the temperature decreases in-
Fig. 10 shows the weight loss expressed as water loss referred to crease from center to the rim. This indicates that the water ingress
the mixing water of the composite samples prepared with tile into the specimen mainly occurs via the rim position, where the
adhesives F1 and W2, respectively under dry conditions. The spec- highest moisture contents are found.
imen with W2 shows a more rapid drying than the specimen with
F1 which is due to the thinner mortar layer and the more open 4.3.4. Length changes
structure of W2 with a lot of cavities, caused by the use of a differ- The length changes of the composite specimen were measured
ent trowel (see Fig. 1). on the tile as well as on the top and on the rear side of the concrete
Fig. 11 displays the results of the infrared thermography mea- slab (see setup shown in Fig. 2b). Concerning the resulting stresses
surements of the composite specimens with F1 and W2 at sample and deformations, the elastic moduli of the materials are of great
ages of 28 days under dry and wet storage. importance (see Table 2). Due to its high stiffness and the negligi-
For the 28 days dry stored samples, the temperature decrease ble hygric length changes the deformations of the tile are generally
after fracture of the composite specimen reaches values of about low and only slightly inuenced by sample age and storage condi-
0.4 K, see Fig 11a and b. This is also visible in Fig 3, where the dis- tions. However, if shrinkage or expansion processes of the compos-
ite specimen (mortar and/or concrete slab) occur, this stiffness can
restrain the length changes of the sample and induce stresses espe-
time / d
cially at the tile-mortar interface.
0 20 40 60 80 100
0 In the sample with mortar F1 stored under dry conditions
(Fig. 12a), the upper side of the concrete slab rst exhibits an
water loss / % of mixing water

-10 expansion due to its wetting by the application of the fresh mortar.
Afterwards, both sides of the concrete slab shrink. After 90 days of
-20 dry storage, the length difference between top and bottom side of
the slab sums up to about +0.25 mm/m. As the tile shows almost
F1 no length change because of its high elastic modulus, it restrains
-30
the composite sample. As shown schematically in Fig. 12a, a buck-
ling of the sample occurs already shortly after application. It cre-
-40
ates at the center of the tile compressive forces perpendicular to
the mortar, and tensile forces close to the rim [1]. This buckling in-
-50
W2 creases with time as the tile adhesive shrinks and the length differ-
ence between upper and lower side of the concrete increases. In
-60 addition, the shrinkage of the specimen is probably not uniformly
Fig. 10. Water loss of tile adhesive mortar during drying of the composite specimen
distributed, as the mortar starts to dry out from the rim of the tile
(dry storage conditions). Note that in this case the specimen with W2 was to the center. Thus, stresses are induced to the tile adhesive, which
investigated without jointing. may lead to a decrease in adhesion strength. In principle, mortar
F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438 433

(a) F1 dry (b) W2 dry


time after disruption of composite time after disruption of composite
specimen / s specimen / s
0 100 200 300 400 0 100 200 300 400
0.0 0.0

-0.1 -0.1

tempereature dieffernce / K
tempereature dieffernce / K

-0.2 -0.2

-0.3 -0.3

-0.4 -0.4

-0.5 tile center -0.5 tile center


tile rim tile rim
-0.6 mortar center -0.6 mortar center
mortar rim mortar rim
-0.7 concrete center -0.7 concrete center
concrete rim concrete rim
-0.8 -0.8

(c) F1 wet (d) W2 wet


time after disruption of composite time after disruption of composite
specimen / s specimen / s
0 100 200 300 400 0 100 200 300 400
0.0 0.0

-0.1 tempereature dieffernce / K -0.1


tempereature dieffernce / K

-0.2 -0.2

-0.3 -0.3

-0.4 -0.4

-0.5 tile center -0.5 tile center


tile rim tile rim
-0.6 mortar center -0.6 mortar center
mortar rim mortar rim
-0.7 concrete center -0.7 concrete center
concrete rim concrete rim
-0.8 -0.8

Fig. 11. Temperature decrease as a function of time after disruption of specimen as obtained by infrared thermography (a) composite specimen with tile adhesive F1, dry
curing for 28 days (b) composite specimen with tile adhesive W2, dry curing for 28 days (c) composite specimen with tile adhesive F1, wet curing for 28 days (d) composite
specimen with tile adhesive W2, wet curing for 28 days.

W2 shows a similar behavior during dry (Fig. 12b) curing. How- exhibit a rapid expansion of the concrete slab. The expansion of the
ever, the absolute values of length change exhibit some differences. concrete bottom is about twice as high as the expansion measured
The resulting length differences of the concrete slab (difference top on the concrete top side, as the length changes of the latter are re-
sidebottom side) are higher compared to F1 (+0.30 mm/m after strained by the tile. The tile itself shows only slight length changes.
90 days dry storage for W2, compared to +0.25 mm/m for F1). When the samples are taken out of the water bath and stored in
Wet storage (note that the specimen is cured dry during the dry conditions, they start to shrink. The shrinkage process is much
rst 7 days) leads to an expansion of the concrete slab (Fig. 13a). slower than the expansion process, as it takes at least 14 days to
The bottom side of the slab shows much more expansion than reach again the initial dimension of the specimen before immer-
the top side, as its expansion is not restrained by the stiff tile. Dur- sion in water. Each dry and wet cycle corresponds also to a buck-
ing the rst 7 days of dry storage the specimen shows a buckling, ling and dishing cycle as illustrated in Fig. 14. These sequential
which then changes into a dishing when the specimen is sub- buckling and dishing movements could weaken the bond between
merged into water. The dishing causes tensile forces at the center adhesive and tile, which might cause a decrease of adhesion
of the tile and compressive forces close to its rim. Again, this non- strength.
uniform expansion of the concrete slab induces stress concentra- The specimen with mortar W2 exhibits higher length differ-
tions. The length difference between top side and bottom side of ences both on the top and bottom side of the concrete than the
the concrete slab at 7 days (before immersion in water) is about specimen with mortar F1, which is in agreement with the mea-
+0.2 mm/m, whereas after 90 days storage under water a length surements displayed in Fig. 12 and Fig. 13.
difference of about 0.1 mm/m is measured. Also in the case of
wet storage, mortar W2 shows higher length changes than F1 4.3.5. Adhesion strength
( 0.25 mm/m after 90 days wet storage compared to 0.1 mm/m Fig. 15 shows the adhesion strengths of the samples produced
for F1). The difference between F1 and W2 correlates well with with mortar F1 for oor application, and with mortar W2 for wall
the slightly higher hygric expansion (Table 2) and especially with application after various curing conditions (7 and 28 days dry,
the more rapid and intense water loss upon drying of mortar W2 28 days wet and 56 days alternating wet/dry). It is found that pre-
(Fig. 10) compared to F1. dominantly adhesion failure occurs. Only at some locations with-
The length changes during alternating wet/dry storage are out engobe partially cohesion failure is observed. Generally the
shown in Fig. 14. When the samples are submerged in water, they presence of mortar residues is more frequent at the rim and less
434 F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438

0.5 0.5
(a) F1 dry (a) F1 wet concrete
below
0.4 0.4
length change / mm/m

length change / mm/m


0.3 0.3
concrete top
0.2 concrete top 0.2

0.1 0.1 tile


tile
0.0 0.0
0.01 0.1 1 10 100 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
-0.1 -0.1
time / d time / d
-0.2 -0.2
concrete below
-0.3 -0.3

0.5
0.5
(b) W2 dry (b) W2 wet
0.4
0.4

length change / mm/m


concrete
length change / mm/m

0.3 below
0.3
0.2 concrete top
0.2 concrete top
0.1
0.1 tile
tile
0.0
0.0
0.01 0.1 1 10 100
0.01 0.1 1 10 100 -0.1
-0.1 time / d
time / d -0.2
-0.2
concrete below
-0.3
-0.3

23 C / 50% rel. humidity 23 C under water


23 C / 50% rel. humidity
tile mortar
tile mortar tile mortar

concrete
concrete concrete

Fig. 12. Length changes of concrete substrate and tile during dry storage: (a) tile Fig. 13. Length changes of concrete substrate and tile during wet storage: (a) tile
adhesive F1, (b) tile adhesive W2. Below the graphs a schematic drawing of the adhesive F1, (b) tile adhesive W2. Below the graphs schematic drawings of the
deformation of the composite samples is added. deformation of the composite samples are added. Note that the wet stored sampled
are cured the rst 7 d at 23 C and 70% relative humidity.

frequent with increasing storage time. They also occur more often
with mortar F1 than with mortar W2, and more often for wet stor-
age than for dry storage. tion degree of the tile adhesive (Fig. 9a). However several factors
The specimen with mortar F1 (Fig. 15a) stored dry for 7 days may be the reason for this, as on one hand the strong deformation
shows the highest adhesive strength at the corners of the tile, of the specimen (Fig. 13a) and on the other hand leaching of the
and the lowest values close to the center of the tile. This can be ex- mortar and softening of the polymer lms may play a role as well.
plained by the fact, that the mortar starts to dry out from the edges Jenni et al. [9] investigated the different mechanisms of strength
of the tile, and thus the lm formation of the polymer dispersion is gain and loss on wet storage very detailed. With respect to the
more advanced, providing an increase of adhesion between mortar redispersible powder they describe a reversible decrease and in-
and tile. However, the rapid drying of the mortar causes a poor crease of strength properties upon wetting and redrying of the
hydration degree of the cementitious part of the adhesive (see mortar related to softening and strengthening of latex lms. Thus,
Fig 9a), which is in addition also strongly retarded by the organic water has the function of a plasticiser. Most remarkable is their
additives (see Fig. 4). In contrary, more moisture has been available observation that after redrying the strength clearly oversteps the
at the center of the tile, providing a high hydration of the tile adhe- former strength value before wetting. Thus, the plasticiser water
sive (see Fig 9a), but lm formation of the organic additives might has also the positive effect of enhancing latex interdiffusion result-
not be as advanced. After 28 days of dry storage, the strength has ing in an increased degree of latex particle coalescence after wet
decreased in the corners, but increased at the center of the tile. This conditions.
could be explained by the strongly different shrinkage properties Alternating wet/dry cycles during 56 days lead in the case of the
of the individual components (see Fig. 6 and Table 2), which result investigated specimens to a severe strength reduction compared to
in different length changes of the individual components, induce sample age of 7 days especially at the rims of the tiles, where prob-
stresses especially at the interface between tile adhesive and tile, ably the highest impact of the effects of buckling and dishing.
and cause a decrease of adhesion strength at the rims. At the center However, in other experiments involving different materials it
however, the hydration degree of the tile adhesive has increased was found that the adhesion could also increase during wet/dry
signicantly (see Fig 9a), providing possibly together with a more storage [9]. As discussed by [7,8], the highest stresses due to differ-
advanced lm formation the higher adhesive strengths. ential shrinkage of the individual components occur at the corners
In contrast to dry storage, the wet curing leads to a more uni- and rims of the tiles. It can be suggested that the sequential buck-
form adhesion strength distribution. The values after 28 days wet ling and dishing movements due to the expansion and shrinkage
curing are signicantly lower than those after 28 days dry storage, processes (Fig. 14) weaken the bond between adhesive and tile,
except at the rim, and even lower than for the specimen after causing the low adhesion strengths measured after 56 days of
7 days of dry storage, despite that wet curing increased the hydra- alternating storage.
F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438 435

0.5 the center of the tile. Due to the compared to F1 less favorable
(a) F1 alternating structure of W2 with a lot of cavities, which are induced by the tro-
0.4 wel, the mortar W2 exhibits a faster drying (Fig. 10). This results in
concrete top
a poor hydration degree especially at the rim of the tile (Fig. 9b),
length change / mm/m

0.3 explaining the poor adhesion. After 28 days of dry storage, the
concrete
strength values have decreased to about half the values for the
0.2 below 7 days samples, which might be a combined effect of shrinkage
stresses (Fig 12b) and the poor contact area between mortar and
0.1 tile. The strength decrease after 28 days wet curing is even more
tile pronounced than at 28 days dry curing, as eventually the open
0.0 structure of the mortar W2 with a lot of cavities allows the ingress
0 20 40 60 80 100
of water, which causes secondary effects like softening of the poly-
-0.1 time / d
mer lms or leaching of the cementitious mortar constituents and
dry wet dry wet dry wet dry stresses by buckling and dishing. The adhesive strengths after
-0.2 56 days alternating wet/dry storage are low as well due to the
stresses and deformations induced by the alternating wetting
0.5 and drying, and do not show a clear dependency on the position.
(b) W2 alternating
0.4 concrete top
5. Discussion of the inuences on adhesive strength
length change / mm/m

0.3
5.1. Inuence of tile dimensions
concrete
0.2 below
According to European standard EN 1348, tiles of the dimen-
sions 5 cm  5 cm are used for adhesion strength testing under
0.1
various curing conditions in order to classify the tile adhesive mor-
tile
0.0
tars. When tested according to EN 1348 (see table 2), tile adhesive
0 20 40 60 80 100 F1 reaches after 28 days 2.83 MPa (dry curing), and 1.57 MPa (wet
-0.1 time / d curing), respectively. Values obtained for W2 are 1.57 MPa (dry)
and 0.92 MPa (wet). While the general trend, that F1 reaches high-
dry wet dry wet dry wet dry er adhesion strengths than W2, is the same with both sizes of the
-0.2
tiles, remarkable differences depending on the dimensions of the
Fig. 14. Length change of concrete substrate and tile during alternate wet/dry tiles occur. Despite the high effort in the laboratory to prepare
storage: (a) tile adhesive F1, (b) tile adhesive W2. the samples in a reproducible manner, it can easily be imagined
that the inlaying of a tile with dimension 5 cm  5 cm can be done
much more reproducibly than of a large-sized tile. On the building
In general, mortar W2 for wall application yields signicantly site the difference is even more pronounced, as the workmanship
lower adhesive strengths (Fig. 15b) compared to mortar F1 for oor greatly inuences adhesion strength [6]. In addition, shrinkage
application, which is consistent with the general lower hydration and expansion phenomena occur during the various curing condi-
degrees (Fig. 9) and the higher length changes during shrinkage tions due to water absorption, drying and hydration processes. It
and expansion processes (Figs. 1214). Another reason is the use can be expected that with small-sized tiles the mortar dries within
of different trowels (Fig. 1). The trowel used for F1 creates a com- some days, whereas with large-sized tiles the mortars needs
plete embedding of the tile into the mortar and thus a better con- months to dry (see Fig. 10). However, the composite sample cannot
nection to the tile. In contrast, the trowel used for W2 causes large freely deform, as it is restrained by the tile, which has a remarkably
cavities between the ripples, resulting in a poorer connection with higher E-modulus compared to concrete and tile adhesive. Thus
the tile. The highest adhesive strengths are reached after 7 days dry stresses occur especially at the tile-mortar interface, where the dif-
storage, showing no clear trend depending on the distance from ference in E-modulus is highest, which mainly sum up at the rims

1.6
(a) F1 1.6
(b) W2
28 d dry
1.4 1.4
adhesive strength / MPa

adhesive strength / MPa

1.2 7 d dry 1.2

1.0 1.0
28 d wet
0.8 56 d 0.8
alternating
0.6 0.6 7 d dry

0.4 0.4 56 d alternating

0.2 0.2 28 d wet


28 d dry
0.0 0.0
20 16 12 8 4 0 20 16 12 8 4 0
distance from the center of the tile / cm distance from the center of the tile / cm

Fig. 15. Adhesion strength of (a) tile adhesive F1 and (b) tile adhesive W2 depending on the distance from the center of the tile and the curing conditions. In contrary to the
specimen with F1, the specimen with W2 was jointed 1 day after application. Note that alternating curing ends with storage under water.
436 F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438

and edges of the tile [7], causing a prestressing and local delamina- Concerning oor application generally the oating-buttering
tion especially in case of a fully-vitried tile. These stresses in- technique (see German Standard DIN 18157-1) is recommended,
crease with increasing size of the tile, thus explaining the lower especially for exterior applications, where the mortar is not only
adhesion strengths of the large-sized tiles. It appears from the re- applied to the substrate (oating), but also to the rear side of the
sults of F1 (see Fig. 15a; the values for W2 are generally low and tile (buttering). For facades the oating-buttering technique is nec-
thus difcult to interpret) that especially the alternating dry/wet essary to avoid eforescence, whereas tiling of walls inside is car-
storage induces a strong decrease of adhesion at the edges of the ried out with oating technology. In our study no buttering was
tile due to the occurring stresses caused by the alternating buck- used neither for mortar F1 nor for W2, which can also help to ex-
ling and dishing of the composite specimen. plain the low adhesion strengths especially in the case of W2,
where only poor contact between tile adhesive and tile could be
5.2. Inuence of trowel geometry established.

The geometry of the trowel has a great inuence on the struc-


6. Conclusions
ture of the adhesive mortar, especially on the amount and size of
the resulting cavities. For F1, a middle-bed trowel was used as rec-
The results reveal that the adhesion and the failure mechanisms
ommended for less viscous mortars for oor applications, whereas
of large-sized tiles are inuenced by various parameters:
for W2 a notched trowel was used as generally applied for the
more viscous mortars for wall applications. As can be seen in
i. with increasing size of the tile the magnitude of the resulting
Fig. 1, the middle-bed trowel used for mortar F1 yields after inlay-
stresses at the tile interface increase, as the tile restrains the
ing of the tile a more homogenous mortar bed with fewer cavities
system concrete tile adhesive tile due to its high
than the notched trowel used for W2. The more inhomogeneous
stiffness,
distribution of tile adhesive W2 causes a quicker drying (Fig. 10),
ii. the nature of the rear side of the tile plays a big role, as the
thus more pronounced length changes (Fig. 12, Fig. 13, Fig. 14)
texture with ribs and cavities as well as the engobe strongly
and lower adhesion strengths than with tile adhesive F1 (Fig. 15).
inuence contact between mortar and tile,
iii. the hydration kinetics of the cementitious tile adhesive and
5.3. Inuence of engobe and ribs on the rear side of the tile
the lm formation kinetics of the added redispersible pow-
der inuence the strength of the tile adhesive and its adhe-
When the adhesion strengths of F1 in Fig. 15a are compared to
sion to substrate and tile,
those of the previous study of [12] using the same materials, much
iv. the shape of the trowel and the way to apply the mortar
lower values are found in the present study. However there is an
(buttering, oating, oating-buttering) inuences greatly
important experimental difference between both studies. In the
the contact and the adhesion between tile, mortar and
present study, the tiles were used as delivered, with a rib structure
substrate,
at their rear side and partially covered by an engobe. In the study
v. the application technique for large-sized tiles might be dif-
by [12] the ribs on the rear side as well as the engobe layer were
cult, as a high force needs to be applied during inlaying of
removed by a polishing machine, creating a homogeneous at sur-
the tile,
face without engobe and an increased porosity. It can be assumed
vi. the curing conditions inuence the length changes within
that the tile adhesive could establish a better connection to such an
the restrained composite system, creating buckling and
abraded surface than to a one textured with ribs and covered by
dishing scenarios depending on the moisture (and tempera-
engobe. The ribs of the tile will cause cavities at the contact zone
ture) conditions. The buckling and dishing cause tensile and
to the mortar, and the engobe will prevent a good contact between
compressive stresses at the interface between tile and mor-
tile and the fresh mortar (see Fig. 7).
tar, which may sum up over a complete tiling. In that case,
Thus it can be assumed that at the zones with engobe only a
also external environmental effects like daily and yearly
poor bonding of the adhesive mortar occurs, as the engobe acts like
temperature and moisture changes play an important role
a separating agent. Due to the presence of ribs and engobe on the
concerning the failure mechanisms as shown in a eld study
rear side of the tiles the signicantly lower adhesion strengths
involving the same materials [11].
compared to the study of [12] can be explained. The general inu-
ences of the rear side of the tile like the rib structure and the eng-
Concerning a sustainable application, the general recommenda-
obe are discussed more in detail elsewhere [52].
tions from construction practice should be followed very accu-
rately especially in the case of large-sized tiles. This includes for
5.4. Inuence of application technique
example the use of appropriate materials (e.g. rapid hardening tile
adhesives with long open time) or the oating-buttering applica-
As highlighted in [6] the workmanship of a tiling is crucial for
tion technique. Floating-buttering can also be favorable in general
their adhesion strength and thus for their durability. The skin for-
for large-sized tiles with respect to an improvement of the contact
mation during open time of the mortar, the ribs and cavities of the
to the textured and engobe-covered rear side of the tile. Also the
fresh mortar induced by the trowel and the entrapped air between
tiling should not be done before the substrate, e.g. the concrete,
mortar and tile play a crucial role with respect to adhesion as dis-
has dried out to a reasonable extent. Moisture ingress for example
cussed in [12]. This especially refers to large-sized tiles, as the hu-
in oor applications can be avoided by using drainage and/or a
man factor inuencing the reproducible placement of the tile
exible waterproong membrane.
increases with increasing size of the tiles. On one hand, the degree
of lateral movement of the tile may vary, which inuences the con-
tact area between tile and mortar. On the other hand the pressure Acknowledgements
during inlaying of the tile may vary or even the necessary pressure
to obtain a good contact area might even not be reached. For a Financial support by Swiss Commission for Technology and
5 cm  5 cm tile a load of 2 kg is applied in the adhesion strength Innovation is gratefully acknowledged (CTI project No 8605.1
test according to EN 1348, whereas for a 30 cm  30 cm tile a load EPRP-IW). We would like to thank Marco Herwegh (University of
of 72 kg would be required to reach the same pressure. Berne), Hanspeter Waser (Elotex AG) and Walter Trindler (Empa)
F. Winnefeld et al. / Construction and Building Materials 30 (2012) 426438 437

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ID Title Pages

258540 Moisture induced length changes of tile adhesive mortars and their impact on adhesion strength 13

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