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SALTCONTROL Sintesi della relazione

Project ID: 501571
Finanziato nell'ambito di: FP6-POLICIES
Paese: Belgium

Final Report Summary - SALTCONTROL (Prevention of salt damage to the built cultural heritage by the use of crystallisation inhibitors)

The project SALTCONTROL aimed to develop a new method to prevent salt damage by using compounds that inhibit the growth of salt crystals. Applying inhibitors is expected to prevent salt crystallisation in stone pores - salts form on the surface causing much less damage. The end result should lead to the creation of a tested, reliable procedure for the use of crystallisation inhibitors for conservation.

Salt weathering causes decay and damage to a wide range of materials, not least in buildings that are important to Europe's cultural heritage. Salt works itself into stone pores and, in the worst cases, it can cause complete structural disintegration. A number of conservation treatments are available but they do not stop salt damage completely, and in fact research shows some can actually exacerbate problems. New conservation treatments are therefore needed that can both prevent salt damage and improve desalination in stonework.

Within this project the crystallisation of salt in porous rocks was studied in different ways - from atomic scale studies to larger scale tests - to achieve an improved model for salt weathering. Moreover, the effects of the crystallisation inhibitors on the growth of salts have been the subject of a thorough investigation. During the SALTCONTROL project, an assessment of the problems caused by salt weathering has been made at different test sites. At the end of the project, site trials have been executed to compare the results of the lab tests with the behaviour of the inhibitors in real-life situations.

Throughout this project an improved understanding of the various factors and processes that control salt crystallisation in porous media was achieved. Furthermore, the knowledge of the effect of various additives on the crystallisation of salt minerals, both in free solutions and in rock substrates, has been increased for various salt systems. The results of this project have been incorporated in an expert system which is available for the professionals. The expert system is an interactive tool (prototype) that helps the user in the understanding of moisture and salt sources and in the decision what measure to take under which circumstances. Apart from that, this tool is adapted to completely describe the monument or building (data on building, structural elements, details, materials, damages can be introduced). The prototype system was first developed in the EU project COMPASS. In SALTCONTROL new ways of dealing with salt problems have been investigated and both their possibilities and risks have been assessed.

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