What Are the Three Most Common Cementing Agents for Sandstones?

Even small amounts of iron produce a red color in sandstone.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed of mostly quartz compressed and cemented together. The cementing agents are the materials that hold the sandstone together. The composition of the stone and the cementing agent used will determine the strength, durability and weather-resistant properties of the sandstone.

Silica

Silica cement, also called quartz cement, creates the strongest and most durable type of sandstone used for building. The cement is a result of the quartz grains overgrowing and expanding the crystallized forms until it runs into another quartz crystal. This type of sandstone typically forms in environments that have high-energy currents, such as beaches, marine bars and desert dunes.

Calcite Cement

Calcite cement is the most common type of cement found in sandstone. The calcite cement typically forms in patches and does not fill all the gaps within the stone. This makes calcite cement sandstone very porous. Calcite is also soluble in wate, which can erode away the cement making the stone even more porous.

Iron Oxides

Another common cementing agent in sandstone is iron oxide, also called hematite cement. The iron present in the cement will give the sandstone a distinctive red color. According to the Stone Care Techniques website, iron oxide cemented sandstone weather well in dry climates and become harder and stronger, resisting weathering and deterioration.

Other Cementing Agents

Sandstone also has other cementing agents that occur in less common forms. These cementing agents include pyrite, barite and gypsum. These cementing agents form crystals between the particles of the stone. These cements produce a much softer type of sandstone with the particles able to be rubbed off the stone with your hand.

Related Articles

Interesting Facts About Quartzite
What Factors Cause Mechanical Weathering?
What Is Red Clay?
What Is the Difference Between Sandstone & Limestone?
Uses for Gypsum Powder
How Does Weathering Affect Monuments?
Limestone Chemical Components
Physical Characteristics of Limestone
Difference Between Quartzite & Granite
Physical & Chemical Weathering
Three Ways Sedimentary Rocks Are Formed
What Environment Is Likely to Form Siltstone or Shale?
What Is Drusy Quartz?
How to Convert Cubic Yards to Tons of Rip Rap
The Differences Between Fluorite & Calcite
Ingredients in Jointing Sand
What Are the Properties of Metamorphic Rocks?
Rock Types & Their Resistance to Weathering
Definition of Weathering of Rocks
How to Identify Sandstone

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!