Physical and mechanical characteristics of natural stone


Natural stone has various physical and mechanical parameters that differ from stone to stone. Let’s have a look at some of them that are most commonly used.

Weight per unit of volume = the ratio between the weight and the apparent volume of the stone which corresponds to its actual weight. This also includes the holes inside the natural stone, i.e. its porosity. This is fundamental in the assessment of the loads that a particular natural stone exerts on the fixing and supporting structures. It also provides information on the compactness of the same.

Imbibition coefficient = a natural stone’s capacity to absorb liquids – this gives an indication of its porosity. This coefficient is significant when the stone is going to be frequently in contact with liquids, as is the case in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior uses, etc.

Compression breaking load = the stone’s ability to withstand loads. This is important for natural stone worked into shapes that serve a structural function such as columns, arches, etc., but it is also crucial for cladding and flooring, which, for many reasons, are subjected to compressive stress.  

Compression breaking load after freezing = a natural stone’s ability to withstand loads in environments with significant temperature changes above and below zero degrees Celsius. This is a fundamental parameter when the stone is supposed to be used in an environment that undergoes substantial temperature changes within 24 hours or that have frequent temperatures considerably below the Celsius freezing point.

Flexural strength = a stone’s ability to withstand bending pressure. This is extremely important because mechanical stress will always cause direct or indirect bending at least to some extent.

Frictional wear test = the natural stone’s ability to withstand continuous wear. This is essential in assessing a stone’s suitability for internal and external flooring, shelves, etc.