Pyrite and Pyrrhotite: Managing the Risks in Construction Materials and New Applications


Michael L.J. Maher, PhD, P.Eng.Principal and Construction Materials Specialist, WSP Golder, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Series: Construction Materials and Engineering
BISAC: TEC009150; NAT030000; TEC032000

This book has been divided into three sections. The first section contains one chapter setting out the geological origins of sedimentary pyrite. Section two contains five chapters that provide detailed insights into the behavior of reactive pyrite and pyrrhotite when present in construction aggregates. Most recently, the consequences for property owners in Québec, Ireland and Connecticut, from iron sulfides in unbound aggregates and in aggregates in concrete have been devastating both financially and emotionally to building owners. When, through no fault of their own, their house loses some or all of its value, the impact on homeowners’ lives can be shattering. The third section deals with the more positive aspects of pyrite and how emerging research is showing its value as a low-cost material for such diverse applications as coatings for solar panels and as a growth enhancer for agricultural crops.

Table of Contents

In Memoriam


Part 1: Sulfide Minerals in Rock – Their Origins and Geochemistry

Chapter 1. Introduction to the Geology and Geochemistry of Sedimentary Iron Sulfide Minerals
Daniel David Gregory, PhD
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Chapter DOI:

Part 2: Problems with Pyrite and Pyrrhotite Minerals in Construction Aggregates

Chapter 2. Heave Rates and Mechanism of Pyritic Expansion in Unbound Aggregates
Michael L. J. Maher
WSP Golder, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
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Chapter 3. Pyrite in Construction Aggregates – Using Trace Elements to Assess the Risks
Michael L. J. Maher, PhD, and Maxim Ryskin, PhD
Materials Engineering Group, WSP Golder, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
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Chapter 4. Overview of the Trois-Rivières (Québec, Canada) Pyrrhotite Issues
J. Duchesne, PhD, A. Rodrigues, PhD and B. Fournier, PhD
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
CRIB – Research Center on Concrete Infrastructure
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Chapter 5. Concrete Deterioration from the Oxidation of Pyrrhotite – A State-of-the-Art Review
Dipayan Jana
Construction Materials Consultants, Inc. and Applied Petrographic Services, Inc., Greensburg, PA, USA
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Chapter 6. Evaluation of Pyrite-Bearing Construction Aggregates for Acid Rock Drainage
Fred H. Shrimer
WSP Golder, Vancouver, Canada
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Chapter 7. The Role of the Geologist in Sulfide Problems: The Irish Experience
Peter Strogen
Consultant Geologist, Coromandel, New Zealand
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Part 3: Future Trends in Pyrite Applications

Chapter 8. Growth of fex2 (x = s, se)-Pyrite Thin Films as Low-Cost Materials for Photovoltaic Applications and ru-Substitution Effect on Their Properties
Beya Ouertani, PhD
Department of Physics-Chemistry & Renewable Energies, University of Carthage and CRTEn, Borj Cedria Science and Technology Park, Tunisia
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Chapter 9. Pyrite in Agriculture: Sustainable Applications for Crop Enhancement
Chinmaya Kumar Das, PhD
Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar, India
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Chapter 10. Avoidance of Sulfide Problems in Aggregates
Fred H. Shrimer
Senior Principal Geoscientist, WSP Golder, Vancouver, Canada
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About the Authors


Editor’s ORCID iD

Michael L.J. Maher0000-0003-3658-600X

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