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Active & intelligent PAckaging materials and display cases as a tool for preventive conservation of Cultural Heritage.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - APACHE (Active & intelligent PAckaging materials and display cases as a tool for preventive conservation of Cultural Heritage.)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-07-01 do 2021-06-30

European Cultural Heritage (CH) has wide societal and economic relevance. To produce such benefits, CH must be well preserved and accessible; however, artifacts are subjected to degradation, which can be significantly increased by disadvantageous and unstable climate conditions, light, and (intrinsic or external) pollution. The vast majority of CH objects is in storage, especially in small and medium sized museums often in unsuitable climate conditions. Traditional active and intelligent packaging materials are short-term solutions that cannot be easily adapted for cultural heritage, where long-term stability (usually more than 50 years) is mandatory.
In APACHE, the novel combination of active novel packaging materials with sensors and wireless sensor technologies (WST) provides smart, low-cost easy-to-deploy systems for the Preventive Conservation (PC) of artifacts in storage and exhibition. The ultimate goal of APACHE is to dramatically reduce the costs of mechanical climate control and monitoring systems, by developing and customizing smart and affordable novel materials, based on material science advancements and discrete and continuum modeling.
The overall objective of APACHE is the development of tools/solutions for effective and affordable Preventive Conservation, especially for small and medium sized museums, galleries, deposits and libraries, focusing on two aspects: 1) ACTIVE Packaging and display-cases/boxes solutions, to create a stable and optimized climate within the enclosures using innovative functional materials that have an active influence on, and interact with, the packed objects. 2) INTELLIGENT Packaging and display-cases/boxes tools, i.e. tools that give an additional function to the packaging. These include sensors that monitor the condition of the packed object or its surrounding atmosphere, and communicate through WST such as Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID).
APACHE will develop PC solutions characterized by low environmental impacts; innovative solutions will be screened by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) thus allowing the estimation of different environmental impacts such as climate change, human toxicity, ecotoxicity, etc.
The foreseen tasks and objectives within the second period have been fulfilled thanks to an active and fruitful collaboration between all the partners. WP1 has developed two models to predict internal microclimates of enclosures as a function of the external microclimate and the enclosure properties. The models can serve as the basis for interpretation of box behavior, and to prepare a decision-making system. A damage function for Poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) has been developed. In WP2, atomistic simulations provided structural (scattering) and thermodynamic (glass transition temperature) information on acrylics degradation by VOCs, which can be directly compared to experimental measurements. WP3 progress included the construction of new box types and the implementation of materials for T and RH control, and acid/VOCs adsorbers (acetic and formic acid, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde). These new materials have all proved as promising candidates to replace benchmark absorbers in terms of cost-effectiveness. WP4 has developed electrochemical sensors, and finalized the integration of a battery-less Near-Field Communication (NFC) sensor into a box prototype. For display cases, both Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) and Short-Range Radio (SRR) technologies are being evaluated. The construction of display cases to be used for testing adsorbents was also concluded. WP5 continued the development of preventive conservation techniques open repository and methodology to enable strategies for effective preventive conservation decision making. The case studies selected in the previous reporting period (Peggy Guggenheim, Chieti State Archive, and Hungarian National Museum) will be used for testing the Decision Supporting System in real conditions. WP6 updated the Plan for Exploitation and Dissemination of Results (PEDR) and the Data Management Plan. Regarding standards and prototypes for preventive conservation systems, partners provided a list of some standards/methods. WP7 actively promoted and recorded dissemination activities included the public website, press releases, publications, social media, and attendance at events. 34 events have already been attended by the partners, in Europe and worldwide, and 17 papers have been submitted. The First Public Training Besides has been organized in Paris o n September 2021. APACHE also participated to some events organized by the European CH cluster ECHOES.
For what concerns the modeling of CH degradation, one of the main intentions in APACHE is to couple existing physic/chemistry models to machine learning, data mining and materials informatics paradigms. This approach holds the promise to break through the limitation of current state of the art of material modeling applied to CH. By partly abstracting its complexity APACHE will develop specific descriptors that are needed to bridge the gap between materials modeling and the preservation of art on the one hand, and between various materials models on different scales describing relevant degradation processes.
Overall, APACHE is producing advancements from the state of the art in PC by developing cost-effective solutions for the PC of large and small collections and CH assets.
The main foreseen progress and the potential impacts of such advancements include:

• Practical and affordable tools/solutions in terms of cost and/or complexity of operation. A cost reduction of at least 50% is expected as compared to existing solutions and improved compliance with PC recommendations, without a negative impact on the budget presently available for PC, in particular for end-users such as small and medium sized museums;
• Improved CH degradation predictions and modeling-based decision-making with regard to the choice between preventive and remedial conservation measures;
• Clear prospect for quantified socio-economic gains from the proposed solutions (e.g. the creation of new services) also beyond their application for CH;
• Effective market uptake across Europe of the proposed solutions within five years after the end of the project;
• Contribution to sustainable open repositories of simulation/experimental/measurement data;
• Contribution to an increased citizens' awareness of PC of tangible CH;
• APACHE will substantially enhance the digital museum revolution having the possibility to check remotely the behavior of display cases, storage crates and archive boxes;
• From a social point of view the relevance of APACHE is of outstanding importance since the museums are one on the most relevant assets of European cultural heritage;
• The innovative solutions for preventive conservation developed within APACHE will allow the fruition of unique and valuable objects that are particularly prone to degradation without any risk for them. Many artifacts composed by vulnerable materials are currently not exhibited and transported with the aim to protect them and to avoid their deterioration. The preventive conservation solutions developed within APACHE will make possible the safe exhibition, transport and fruition of a wide number of artifacts, thus attracting an increasing number of visitors and then promoting the tourism industry.
schematic view of the proposed solutions
schematic representation of emission sources
The Wall - André Breton
storage room of Pompidou; display-case from the National Museum of Hungary