Chemical and physical methods for the cultural goods conservation

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide a specific information about the main physico chemical methods that allow a characterization of crafts, produced with materials of biological and/or technological origin, the relevant modification related to their aging and/or to external factors, like atmospheric insults, chemical and microbiological aggression, as well as to damages produced by an inadequate conservation.
Expected learning outcomes
The student becomes familiar with physical properties used as parameters to evaluate the conservation and/or establish the restoration criteria of art crafts, with particular emphasis to thermodynamics, kinetics, rheology, spectroscopy, various kinds of microscopy and image analysis.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
The course is delivered partly in synchronous and partly in asynchronous format. The didactic material of the course (commented pptx files) is already uploaded on the dedicated ARIEL website. Such material serves as an asynchronous lesson as well. During the scheduled lesson time (synchronous part) students' doubts will be clarified. Synchronous lessons are delivered on the MS-Teams platform.
Course syllabus
1. Elements of Physical Chemistry
1.1 Brief introduction to quantum mechanics as a logic prerequisite to properly comprehend spectroscopic techniques.
1.2 Chemical thermodynamics: first principle.; second principle. Phase equilibria. Chemical equilibria. Phase diagrams.
1.3. Principles of calorimetry. Isothermal and temperature scanning micro-calorimetry
1.4 Elements of Kinetics. Rate of Reaction, Order of Reaction; effect of temperature on the rate of reaction: Arrhenius and Eyring kinetic models.
2. Chemico-physical methods for the investigation of cultural heritage
2.1 Sampling criteria from artefacts.
2.2. IR spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and UV-vis spectroscopy
2.2 X-ray based techniques (diffraction XRD, absorption spectroscopy XAS, fluorescence spectroscopy XRF and photoemission spectroscopy XPS).
2.3 Imaging techniques: MultiSpectral; Digital (RGB vs CMY); Trichrome in false color; IR imaging: reflectography and thermography.
3. Processes and evaluation of the aging of materials and artefacts.
3.1. Thermal aging: Kinetic methods for evaluating the life expectancy of cultural heritage and isopermic diagrams
3.2 Photochemical and chemical aging: Principle of reciprocity; Microdissolvency test; Weathering tests
4. Stability and conservation of materials and artifacts of cultural heritage
4.1 Stability and alteration of pigments and dyes
4.2 Processes of alteration and degradation of glass products and conservation methods
4.3 Stability and conservation of metal products. Elements of archaeometallurgy. Corrosion and protection of metal products.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of mathematics, physics and general chemistry
Teaching methods
ectures and seminars
Attendance to lessons is strongly recomanded
Teaching Resources
Slides of lessons supplied by the teachers and selected chapters of text books.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists in the oral presentation and folllowing discussion of a written report, chosen by the student, concerning diagnostic studies and conservation of cultural heritage present in the literature.
CHIM/02 - PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 72 hours