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Mortar and Lime in Construction

Mortar and lime are the two most important binding materials in building and road construction. Thus every civil engineer must learn as it is very important that every civil engineer knows about its properties. Here, all important information has been pointed out in bulleted form so that memorization becomes easy for students. It is highly recommended for competitive exams. Some important information is discussed as follows-

Mortar used on construction site
Fig 1: Mortar used on construction site
Courtesy: Dreamstime

  1. Bulk Density

It is classified into two types:

Type of Binding Material

According to this, mortars are classified as –

Lime Mortars

Surkhi Mortar

Cement Mortar

Gauged Mortar

Special Mortar

Fire-resistant Mortar

It is prepared by adding aluminous cement to finely crushed powder of fire bricks.

LightWeight Mortar

Packing Mortar-

Sound absorbing Mortar –

Properties of Good Mortar –

Uses of Mortar

Functions of Sand in Mortar

Tests for Mortars

Some important definitions

CaCO3 ——> CaO + CO2



Classification on strength basis for Mortar

Table 1: Mortar designation as per strength

Mortar Minimum (N/mm2)
H1 10
H2 6-7.5
M1 3-5
M2 2-3
M3 1.5
L1 0.7
L2 0.5

Table 2: Sand classification as per buckling


Moisture (%) % Buckling in
Fine sand Medium sand Coarse sand
1 16 8 6
2 26 16 12
3 32 22 15
4 36 27 17
5 38 29 18
6 37 28 18
8 35 26 16
10 32 22 12
12 28 19 8
15 22 12 2
17 18 7 0
20 9 0 0
27 0 0 0

Table 3: Sand classification as per fineness modulus

Sand Type Fineness Modulus
Coarse 2.2-2.6
Medium 2.6-2.9
Fine 2.9-3.2

All this information is vital for an engineer to produce a good structure. It is recommended that an engineer understands the properties and specifications before commencing work in the field. Lack of such knowledge will lead to failure of structures and wastage of money.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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