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X-ray spectrometry applied for characterization of bricks of Brazilian historical sites

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

This paper presents the results of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis of bricks sampled from historical places in Pernambuco, a state in the northeastern region of Brazil. In this study, twenty bricks found in historical sites were analyzed. Two bricks made in the 17th century, presumably used as ballast in ships coming from Holland, five locally manufactured bricks: one from 18th century, three from 19th century, and one from 20th century, and thirteen bricks collected from a recent Archeological investigation of Alto da Se, in the town of Olinda. Qualitative determination of the chemical elements present in the samples was undertaken using a self-assembled portable XRF system based on a compact X-ray tube and a thermoelectrically cooled Si-PIN photodiode system, both commercially available. X-ray diffraction analysis was also carried out to assess the crystalline mineral phases present in the bricks. The results showed that quartz (SiO2) is the major mineral content in all bricks. Although less expressive in the XRD patterns, mineral phases of illite, kaolinite, anorthite, and rutile are also identified. The trace element distribution patterns of the bricks, determined by the XRF technique, is dominated by Fe and, in decreasing order, by K, Ti, Ca, Mn, Zr, Rb, Sr, Cr, and Y with slight differences among them. Analyses of the chemical compositional features of the bricks, evaluated by principal component analysis of the XRF datasets, allowed the samples to be grouped into five clusters with similar chemical composition. These cluster groups were able to identify both age and manufacturing sites. Dutch bricks prepared with different geological clays compositions were defined.
Journal: X-ray spectrometry
ISSN: 0049-8246
Volume: 99
Pages: 1 - 8
Publication year:2020