The Strength of Rocks – Introduction


The purpose of this experiment is to determine the relative strength of some common rocks.


You should allow yourself two hours if you are doing the whole experiment including both activities. If you are doing only one of the activities then one and a half hours should be sufficient.


Why do you think it is important to know the strength of rocks?


There are some clues in these pictures:


PisaWhat was it that lacked sufficient strength that allowed the Leaning Tower of Pisa to lean? (photograph by Johann Addicks, available under GNU licence).

Close up of Gonville&Caius.  Click to view an enlarged image. This will open in a new windowYou can see rocks used in four different ways in this photograph. 1 = Dimensional building stone, which is where the walls are made all of stone, no concrete or iron girders; 2 = paving slabs; 3 = kerbstones; 4 = stone sets. Why is it important to know the strength of rock for each of these uses? (Photograph Mike Tuke).


Click on the image to view an enlarged version. This will open in a new window.

Why must the stone used in this building be strong? (Photograph Mike Tuke).



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