Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 646178

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NANO-CATHEDRAL (Nanomaterials for conservation of European architectural heritage developed by research on characteristic lithotypes)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Problem/issue being addressed and objectives:
The aim of NANO-CATHEDRAL project is to develop, on an European scale, new nano-materials, technologies and procedures for the conservation of deteriorated stones in monumental buildings and cathedrals and high value contemporary architecture, with a particular emphasis on the preservation of the originality of materials and on the development of a tailor-made approach to tackle the specific problems related to the different lithotypes. In particular, the employment of nano-particle with different composition will allow to provide methods for consolidations, protection and pollutants decomposition, thus preventing part of the degradation and providing long-term conservation. The multidisciplinary approach and the inclusion of industrial partners directly involved in the production processes and technology of restoration will allow the development of affordable methodologies, granting reliability of the developed chain. Proof of concept in terms of product and/or process will be delivered within the project, demonstrating scalability towards industrial needs
Importance for society:
Cultural heritage plays a proactive role in enriching and enhancing quality of life, in delivering answers to basic questions about our historic origins, in providing solutions to environmental and construction-related problems, and in interacting with other internal social, economic and political drivers.
From an economic point of view the project can promote the production of new nano-structured products for consolidation and protection of stone monuments, thus promoting employment in a strategic sector for European economy. Besides, the value of a sustainable approach to the protection and conservation of the built heritage by innovative tailor-made treatments goes beyond simply the economic significance. Collectively, these novel products and their application provide invaluable learning and training opportunities for the scientific community, practitioners and the interested audience of all ages.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The work was organized in Work Packages and Tasks, as shown in the attached picture.

WP1 was aimed at the identification of products and materials. This WP activity allowed to reach the following results:
• Homogenizing the level of knowledge on the architectural/historical/conservation issues of the different monuments involved in the project ;
• Making the state of the art about the commercially available products typically used in consolidation and protection treatments, with a view also on the most recent innovative solutions still at a research stage
• Selecting a set of representative lithotypes and the goals to reach for each one
• Monitoring the stone decay
The conclusion of this WP will enable the achievement of the first milestone (Practices and methods for the mapping of stones and stones decay) at month 24.
WP2 activities are related to the identification and development of nano-materials. The treatments prepared in WP2 consist of 30 consolidants, 5 of which being made available in the required amount for further testing in WP3. In addition, 20 protective treatments were developed, 14 of which being made available in the required amount for further testing in WP3. The number of developed treatments is thus about 50. WP2 is still ongoing and will be completed by month 24 with the delivery of selected samples for further on site experimentation in the framework of WP5.
WP3 was devoted to Laboratory application and validation and consisted of a systematic testing activity performed in the field of consolidant treatments and protective treatments.
In the field of consolidant treatments a systematic pre-testing activity was performed onto 15 products by the IATCS laboratory in Vienna. This pre-screening activity allowed to select 4 products for further in depth experimentation on the 6 selected lithotypes.
In the field of protective treatments INSTM-POLIMI tested the protective treatments with photocatalytic, anti-fouling and hydrophobic properties of two classes. Up to month 18th 17 products were tested on the six selected lithotypes.
In the framework of WP3 also a preliminary activity with some consolidant and protective treatments was begun on site.
WP4 (Sustainability assessment) had the objectives of preliminarily defining sustainability of the new products and treatment procedures by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), evaluating the hazards related to the use of nano-particles and the future standardization of products and processes.

WP5 is dedicated to the scale-up, hence to the application of treatments on pilot areas on monuments. Preparation of sites and in situ lithotype sampling was related to practical preparation of the sites. Application processes began by the different cathedrals’ foundations. This activity was important also to start the development of operational guidelines. The foundations improved their expertise and know-how in using innovative wet treatments and could compare their methodologies with the ones previously adopted by other cathedrals.

The activities related to WP6, dedicated to the analysis of socio-economic and cultural impact, began at M12 and were devoted to the evaluation of economic, social and cultural impacts.

The aim of WP7 (exploitation and dissemination of project results) is to disseminate the advances and the results of the project and to carry on the exploitation of the new materials. With regard to selected target audiences a wide range of dissemination activities and communication measures have been conducted. Exploitation and innovation opportunities are thoroughly analysed and comprehensively reported.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Interesting scientific aspects were investigated in the Nanocathedral project and new scientific findings related to nano-structured materials explored in the framework of the consortium.
About consolidants the main points can be evidenced:
About protective treatments the systematic work performed up to now allowed evidencing that:
The nano-materials selected up to now are easily up-scalable, hence it is expected the project can have a positive impact on the industrial production of innovative products for conservation of stones and more generally for restoration practices, in agreement with the objectives of the Nano-cathedral proposal.
Collectively, these novel products and their application provide invaluable learning and training opportunities for the scientific community, practitioners and the interested audience of all ages. The cathedrals and the Oslo Opera House as leading cultural units represent cultural centres. They provide optimum learning settings and communication engagement as well as places that provide enriching cultural experience in general. Especially the contemporary workshops of cathedrals are oftentimes centres of excellence of arts and crafts as well as of building preservation measures.

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