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Current Topics in Analytical Chemistry   Volumes    Volume 12 
Review of analysis for cultural heritage conservation
David Thickett
Pages: 73 - 88
Number of pages: 16
Current Topics in Analytical Chemistry
Volume 12 

Copyright © 2020 Research Trends. All rights reserved

Analysis to drive the conservation of cultural heritage presents an unusual set of challenges. The measurement of pollution in showcases and glazed frames must not disturb the very still atmospheres present. Active sampling can alter the results, impacting both the air exchange rate and pollutant distribution. The set of pollutants concentrated in museum enclosures include over 40 gases reported to cause damage to cultural heritage materials. Assessing the risk to objects requires knowledge of deterioration rates at different concentrations of these pollutants and different relative humidity (RH) values. Whilst some institutions have very tightly controlled RH ranges, many experience wider ranges. Many materials are no longer commercially exploited and only limited research has been reported. A range of effect sensors has been developed in the cultural heritage field. Determination of composition, stability and deterioration rates are key to conserve the unique material culture of heritage. The non-industrial nature of many artefacts, with a very wide range of potential compositions and forming processes, makes analysis critical. The materials are often altered with very long term aging and in many instances burial. The high value of the surfaces makes non-invasive techniques essential, yet they must cope with highly heterogeneous surface and depth profiles. Cultural heritage have been prolific adaptors of such technologies. X-rays were applied to paintings within 2 years of their discovery. X-ray fluorescence was used on archaeology rapidly after its invention and almost a third of academic papers in Raman spectroscopy in the last decade have dealt with cultural heritage applications. New optical coherence tomography and hyperspectral imaging instruments have been recently developed optimised for cultural heritage applications.
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