Since the early days of the settlement in the Azores archipelago, in the 15th century, natural stone has been used in the construction of residences, religious monuments and public buildings, because of its local abundance. The purpose of this study was the characterization of the main commercial types of natural stone of the archipelago of Azores, in terms of their petrographic, mineralogical, chemical and physico-mechanical properties. This characterization allowed the appraisal of their suitability for the different types of applications. In a preliminary stage, the study comprised seven varieties of natural stones exploited in severals quarries and processing plants of São Miguel Island and Santa Maria Island—two of the nine islands that form the Azores archipelago. Petrographic studies and chemical analysis were performed in all the selected varieties as well as the following physical-mechanical tests (carried out according to European Standards): uniaxial compressive strength, flexural strength under concentrated load, apparent density, water absorption at atmospheric pressure, open porosity (or appar-ent Porosity), linear thermal expansion coefficient, abrasion resistance (with Capon machine) and rupture energy (commonly known as impact resistance). Finally, relationships were established between the main Physical-mechanical properties of the natural stones under study, and their main lithological and textural Characteristics.

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