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Baroque Artificial Marble: Environmental Impacts, Degradation aand Protection


This proposal is concerned with degradation and weathering of artificial marble by environmental and climatic impacts. Hygric and thermal swelling and shrinking processes as well as crystallisation of salts are responsible for the deterioration of highly valuable baroque marble imitations, used for the decoration of church and palace interiors in Central and South Eastern Europe. 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 are urgently needed.
The investigations planned will mainly be carried out at the Dukes Chapel, being part of the famous Cistersian abbey in lower Silesia/Poland. The church is a masterpiece of European baroque architecture with rich artificial marble decoration of the interior. Environmental impacts from ground water, drained precipitation from outside as well as temperature and humidity changes inside the church resulted in damage of the colourful plasters. Main objectives of the investigations will be:
a complete inventory and digitised documentation of the current state of thechapel preservation.
the determination of the structure and chemical composition of both inorganic and organic components of the artificial marble, including binders, filling materials, pigments and coatings.
to identify significant steps of the original technology of preparing and applying the material.
the determination of factors relevant for the decay of the material.
the identification of discontinuities in the structure of the system walllayer and gradients of the physical properties.
gaining information on diurnal and seasonal variations of the microclimate and the interaction with the material.
the alteration of the original composition by chemical and physical attack. The investigations will be carried out by an internationally experienced group of scientists in close contact to restorators. The project outcome will allow the identification of degradation mechanisms and to give recommendation of general validity which will serve as guidelines for restoration of baroque artificial marble.
Furthermore, the results of the investigations should contribute to a scientifically based restoration concept of the Dukes Chapel. artificial marble, degradation mechanisms, climatlc measurements


Martin Luther King Platz 6
20146 Hamburg

Participants (1)

Ul. Niezapominajek 8
30 239 Krakow