Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Baroque artificial marble: environmental impacts, degradation and protection

The degradation and weathering (by environmental and climatic factors) of colourful stucco marble used to decorate architectural surfaces was studied. The input of water and salts due to rain and rising damp from the ground, by deposition of aerosol and gases, as well as changes in humidity and temperature are responsible for the enhanced weathering of this material. The main reasons are hygric swelling and shrinking processes as well as crystallization of salts. Also highly valuable baroque marble imitations, used for the decoration of church and palace interiors in Central and South Eastern Europe are affected. For a better understanding of the weathering mechanisms and to avoid further damage to these materials, basic investigations into their physical and chemical properties and studies of their interaction with humidity and climate were carried out. The investigations were carried out at the Dukes Chapel (Cistersian abbey Silesia, Poland). Environmental impacts from ground water, drained precipitation from outside, as well as temperature and humidity changes inside the church, resulted in damage to the colourful plasters. The investigations were carried out by an internationally experienced group of scientists working for years on weathering mechanisms of different materials and on the development of concepts to protect and rehabilitate objects and sites of world cultural heritage.

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Christian WITTENBURG, (Senior Scientist)
Tél.: +49-40-41234095
Fax: +49-40-41232893
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