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Modelling of VOCs in heritage collections using CFD


"The necessity to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) is widely recognized in view of its health implications and damage concerns to heritage. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), constituting the typical ‘smell’ of museums, galleries, libraries and archives, have been shown to have an important role on the degradation of contemporary materials, but the real impact of artworks on IAQ is almost unknown. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge of the behaviour of materials and objects as sources and sinks of these compounds in primary or secondary ways. The SmellModel project will focus on VOC reaction processes in order to improve indoor monitoring practices and prevent damage to cultural properties. The innovative challenge is to assess the issue of the impact of VOCs on heritage collections using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling tool. This objective is at the forefront of research in indoor air quality but has not been addressed at all yet.
The principal aim of the project is to establish methods and models to predict interactions and provide reliable estimations of VOCs in different environmental conditions. Laboratory experiments as well as measurements in situ, i.e. in historic collections, will contribute to validation of the models and develop the understanding of how the concentration of VOCs varies as a function of material type (e.g. paper, carpet, wood), material properties (e.g. porosity, chemical composition), environmental physical quantities (e.g. temperature, relative humidity, air speed) and enclosure geometry or size (e.g. room, box, display case).
A VOC database will be developed and used in a CFD platform that will allow prediction of VOCs in heritage environments. In this way the SmellModel project will enable forecasting of possible scenarios in terms IAQ and better control and preservation of heritage, while also having important implications on the understanding the interactions between buildings, collections and occupants"

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UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Giles Machell (Mr.)
EU contribution
€ 221 606,40