This project will focus on physical and biological deterioration of building stones and will assess the usefulness of computerized X-ray tomography (CT) as a non-destructive research tool in monument conservation. Aggressive biological and physical conditions, will be evaluated on stones originating from different cultural heritage monuments, exposed to different climatological conditions. The biological part of this project will focus on the contribution of algae, lichens, mosses, bacteria and fungi to weathering. Bioreceptivity as an interactive parameter for different types of weathering of building stones will be studied in situ and in controlled chambers under varying conditions.
Bioreceptivity of stones will be tackled in a multidisciplinary way. The proposed study will also include computerized X-ray tomography (CT) as a new non-destructive technique. In the first part, a wide range of living organisms such as algae, mosses, lichens, fungi, autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria will be isolated from weathered building stones originating from different climatological conditions and from different substrates.
Non-weathered and weathered building stones will be analyzed by computerized X-ray tomography, a new non-destructive technique for the detection and quantification of variations in densities in stones, reflecting differences in porosity and permeability. Scanning electron microscopy (equipped with Energy Dispersive Analysis System = EDS) and fluorescence analysis will provide more petrophysical information and will help to determine the limitations and the advantages of the CT-technique as a non-destructive research tool in monument conservation.
In the second part, non-weathered stones will be pretreated under different conditions of pressure, humidity and temperature. These pretreatments will create favourable physical microhabitats for a number of colonizing organisms, incubated in controlled chambers. The pretreated stones will afterwards be inoculated by algae, bacteria, fungi and lichens and their degradation will be observed and quantified by CT, scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence techniques. Isolates from this model system will be identified.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts