I’m a sixth form student studying chemistry. I am interested in doing a project at college similar to the one you have done on recreating the stone used in the pyramids and building a small replica to show the method that might have been used.
I’ve looked over the information on this site and others but most of it is too technical for my level of chemistry. The closest article to the kind of thing i am after is “Making Cements with Plant Extracts” Is it possible to give a more “simpler” explanation of how i can accomplish this project? i.e. a step by step guide on how to make the limestone cements with various plants or other chemicals (silicates).
A fellow (not J. Davidovits) answered:
Check out this story of Fawcett’s observations during one of his expeditions, at www.spirasolaris.ca/waterstone.html. In my own research, the three main acids involved are; acetic (in vinegar), citric (lemons, etc) and oxalic. Oxalic acid is found in the oxalis family (botany) and wood sorrel is one common northern hemisphere variety.
I haven’t performed any experiments yet, however, my hypothesis is to crush or chop fresh oxalis (you will need to check the variety as acid content varies from each type) whilst completely submerged in fresh squeezed (not the commercial type in a bottle!) lemon juice. The citric acid apparently acts as a catalyst to increase the amount of oxalic acid within the plants’ cells. After an as yet undetermined period of time, filter out the plant solid and add vinegar (acts as a preservative). Test on your chosen stone, take notes. Try other batches with varying quantities of each ingredient, see what you come up with!
If you wish to try this, please let me know how it goes. I don’t have any lab (or even a shed!) to work in, so can’t really find out any more than I already have. Good luck!