The Effect of Material Type, Temperature, and Acid Concentration on the Deterioration of Gravestones

The purpose in performing this experiment was to ultimately decide how different conditions, including the material used for the stone, the temperature that surrounds the stone, and the concentration of the acid that penetrates the stone, affected the amount of mass that the monument lost. The materials that were examined include common choices for monuments such as granite, marble, and limestone, while the temperatures were decided using average temperatures in various common climates from across the country. The results can be used to make more efficient decisions regarding how to build monuments, where to build monuments, and whether or not being ecofriendly is essential to the life of monuments.

To obtain this information, various conditions were analyzed in a Three-Factor Design of Experiment. After imposing these conditions for a week’s time, the amount of mass that each sample lost was measured. The mass of the rock after the treatment was subtracted from the mass from before the treatment, and was measured in grams. After analysis it was found that using more durable rocks, like granite, exposing the rock to a higher temperature, and the interaction of the two, proved to significantly inhibit the loss in mass of the rocks.

Furthermore, a field study, where the researchers qualitatively assessed the condition of various gravestones from various time periods, was conducted. As expected, the results suggested that as time goes on, the quality of gravestones plummets at a stunning rate.

Research Conducted By:

Chris Conte
Cousino High School

Luke Emery
Cousino High School