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Content archived on 2024-06-18

Prevention of salt damage to the built cultural heritage by the use of crystallisation inhibitors


The project aims to develop a new method for the prevention of salt damage, based on the use of compounds that inhibit the growth of salt crystals. When inhibitors are applied, salt crystallisation within the pores of stones is prevented, allowing the salts to form as non-disruptive efflorescence’s along the stone surface. The effects of crystallisation inhibitors will be evaluated in different ways, ranging from atomic scale studies to macro-scale crystallisation tests and site trials, to evaluate the possibilities, limits and risks of their use in this new field of application for these products. The use of these inhibitors as a conservation method in the field of cultural heritage requires a profound understanding of the mechanisms and factors that determine the development of salt damage. Hence, several important aspects of salt formation will be investigated, by experiments with and without added inhibitors:
(i) the relationship between porosity, threshold super saturation and salt damage,
(ii) the mechanisms of transport of moisture and ions during drying and crystallisation, and
(iii) the influence of environmental conditions, including temperature, relative humidity and air speed. The final outcome of the project is the formulation of a tested reliable procedure for the use of crystallisation inhibitors in conservation.

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Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25

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Participants (12)