Research Paper: Geomechanics of heave

Fred Shrimer (Golder Associates, Vancouver, Canada) has published a paper on the geomechanics of heave due to pyrite oxidation.

The paper, titled “Geomechanics of heave due the use of pyritic mudstone, Ireland” follows previous presentations and publications by Shrimer:

Shrimer, F.H., and Briggs, A. (2014). Pyritic heave in Ireland: A case study in selection. Paper presented at the 67th Canadian Geotechnical Conference (GeoRegina 2014). Saskatchewan, Canada, September 28th-October 1st 2014. Link to full paper PDF (permission granted by Fred Shrimer to upload PDF).

Shrimer, F.H., and Bromley, A.V. (2012). Pyritic heave in Ireland: The role of petrography.… Read the rest

Research Paper: Evaluating pyrite-induced swelling

George Matheson (Matrock Consulting) and Paul Quigley (Irish Geotechnical Services Ltd) have published a paper on the petrological examination and assessment of aggregates that have undergone pyrite-induced swelling.

The paper, titled “Evaluating pyrite-induced swelling in Dublin mudrocks” follows previous presentations and publications by the Matheson:

Matheson, G.D, and Jones, G.L.I. (2015). The habit and form of gypsum crystals in Irish mudstone aggregate affected by pyrite-induced swelling. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology. 48, 167-174. Click here to read a summary of the paper.

Matheson, G. (2012). Pyrite-induced swelling. Annual Guest Lecture given to the Geotechnical Society of Ireland.… Read the rest

Research Paper: Gypsum crystals in Irish mudstone aggregate

George Matheson (Matrock Consulting) and Gareth Jones (Conodate Geology) have published a paper on the mineralogy of gypsum in aggregates that have undergone pyrite heave. The authors used advanced petrography to examine the form of gypsum and its relation to forceful or passive growth with regards to aggregate expansion.

The paper, titled “The habit and form of gypsum crystals in Irish mudstone aggregate affected by pyrite-induced swelling” follows previous presentations by Matheson, e.g., in December 2012:

Matheson, G. (2012). Pyrite-induced swelling. Annual Guest Lecture given to the Geotechnical Society of Ireland. 6.12.12, Engineers Ireland, Dublin. Click here to see original flyer.Read the rest

HomeBond’s Repudiation of Purchasers’ Claims

Homebond’s repudiation of purchasers’ claims – was it lawful?

Joseph Tyrrell (FCII, FCILA, FUEDI-ELAE), an insurance claims expert from Dublin, has published an extensive report on HomeBond’s repudiation of purchasers’ claims under the Major Defects Warranty in the HomeBond Agreement for Damage by Pyritic Heave.

report executive summary

In the report summary, Joseph Tyrrell writes:

“Following a wide-ranging investigation, I am satisfied that HomeBond’s rejection of hundreds of its warranty-holders’ claims was invalid, for reasons which I have examined in detail in the main body of this report…”

“It is astonishing, to my mind, that no one in authority appears to have looked closely at the reasons given for wrongfully turning down so many Purchasers’ claims, but it seems that this is what happened and that HomeBond has thus far got away with its shameful behaviour.

Read the rest

Research Paper: Modelling pyritic shale expansion

Pyritic Shale Expansion

Shad Hoover, Whitney Greenawalt and Brian Tittmann (all of CMT Laboratories Inc, State College, PA, USA) have published a paper on the measurement of pyritic shale expansion due to the oxidation of pyrite. The authors use laboratory oxidation experiments and theoretical geochemical models to estimate expansion rates and magnitudes.

The paper is titled “Experimental and Theoretical Modeling of Expansion in Pyritic Shale”.


“Expansive pyritic shales are found in black carbonaceous shales throughout the United States as well as in other countries, including Ireland, England, Norway, Canada, and Sweden. Expansion occurs when the pyrite, which occurs either as finely disseminated syngenetic framboids, macroscopic crystals, or diagenetic replacement fossils, oxidizes to form sulfuric acid.
Read the rest

Research paper: effect of temperature and moisture on the behaviour of pyritic fill

Behaviour of Pyritic Fill

Amy Taylor and others at the University of Sheffield have published a paper on the in situ monitoring of moisture content and temperature beneath the ground-bearing floor slab of a structure to understand the behaviour of pyritic fill material.

The paper, titled “The Effect of Temperature and Moisture Content on the Behaviour of Pyritic Fill: Development of an In Situ Monitoring System” adds to existing paper on the same topic by Taylor et al., (2013): Taylor, A.J., Cripps, J.C., and Clarke, S.D. (2013). An in-situ monitoring system for natural temperature and relative humidity.Read the rest

Research paper: sulphate-generated heave rates in Ireland

Sulphate-Generated Heave Rates

Bryan McCabe and others at the National University of Ireland, Galway, have published a paper on the quantification of expansion rates of pyritiferous mudstone-siltstone from Ireland.

The paper, titled “Pyritiferous mudstone–siltstone: expansion rate measurement and prediction” adds to existing research on the expansion of pyritic fills published by Maher et al., (2011) and Sutton et al., (2013). McCabe et al., (2015) show that the density of pyritic fill and the depth of submergence in water strongly influence the rate of expansion. Furthermore, the authors found that pyrite content was the major control on the degree of expansion.… Read the rest

JEC vs. IAL pyrite case referred to European Court

JEC vs. IAL Pyrite Case

The Irish Times reported yesterday that the legal case brought against Irish Asphalt Ltd by James Elliot Construction  (JEC vs. IAL) for the supply of defective infill has been referred to the European Court of Justice for “determination of issues including the merchantable quality of goods”.


The summary below includes extracts from the Irish Times article.

  • JEC are suing IAL with respect to aggregate supplied for use in construction of the Ballymun Central Youth Facility (BCYF)
  • The BCYF underwent a €1.55m remediation project, required as a result of floor and wall cracking due to pyrite heave
  • A scientific paper on the pyrite heave problems at BCYF by Hawkins and Stevens (2013) can be found by clicking here
High Court
  • JEC brought legal action for compensation against IAL, claiming pyrite heave as the cause of damage
  • The High Court found the aggregate was not fit for purpose or of merchantable quality, and had caused pyrite heave
  • IAL appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and claimed it was not liable to JEC
Supreme Court
  • The Supreme Court found that IAL’s appeal should be dismissed, subject to any issue of European law
  • The Supreme Court therefore referred the case to the European Court of Justice
  • The Supreme Court upheld the finding that there was a breach of legislation in terms of merchantability under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
  • The Supreme Court stated that it had set aside the High Court finding in relation to material suitability for purpose under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
  • The Supreme Court reject IALs contention that liability to JEC was limited to the cost of infill replacement

The Supreme Court upheld the High Court view that the sulfur content of the infill did not meet the required standard and should not be overturned

Notes on EU law (from irish Times)

“In light of Irish Asphalt Ltd’s contention the High Court conclusions were inconsistent with and precluded by EU law, it had been decided to refer a number of questions on the case to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling or reasoned order.

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Research paper: sulfate generated heave and the effects on structures

sulfate generated heave

Peter Finnegan (Dublin City Council), Paul Forde (DBFL Engineers) and Brian Hawkins (Engineering Geological Consultant) have published a paper on the structural effects of sulfate generated heave, with particular reference to the problems in Dublin, Ireland.

The paper, titled “Sulphate-generated heave – the effect on structures in Dublin” adds to existing information published by the authors in their respective chapters of the 2013 book, Implications of Pyrite Oxidation for Engineering Works. Finnegan et al (2014) describe the typical mechanisms and types of damage that can occur due to expansion of sub-floor aggregate. The authors also discuss methods and planning of remediation, including consideration of the potential for differential stresses in adjacent structures during remediation.… Read the rest