Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PANNA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 282998
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Italy

Safer art restoration and cleaning

An EU team developed a protocol consisting of new methods and technologies for cultural heritage restoration and preservation. The key outcome was a plasma device that aids cleaning and invisibly marks artefacts with special ink.
Safer art restoration and cleaning
Current guidelines about preserving or restoring cultural artefacts favour preservation through environmental control. Yet, curators must often apply protective materials in addition, involving risk and requiring considerable judgement.

The EU-funded PANNA (Plasma and nano for new age "soft" conservation) project worked to assist restorers with an innovative protocol. The guidelines, called full-life, recommend various methods for cleaning, protection and coating removal that are guaranteed to be fully reversible. The proposals are also low cost and long lasting. PANNA also developed a supplementary system for invisibly marking artefacts with ultraviolet (UV)-florescent inks using an atmospheric plasma device. Other successful outcomes included self-diagnostic, water-repelling coatings. Lastly, the project tested and validated cultural heritage applications, particularly regarding stone, metal and mural paintings.

Work began with testing five commercially available plasma torches for cleaning applications. Results showed the dangers of excessive heat. Hot electrodes can produce molten metal droplets, while high substrate temperatures or excessively long treatments can also cause damage.

The team produced a prototype portable plasma jet, allowing removal of organic substances or corroded metal. The non-contact jet was environmentally friendly, and caused no thermal, mechanical or chemical harm to artefacts. The same device was able to deposit invisible identification markings and protective coatings. PANNA successfully patented and marketed the technology.

Researchers also developed new hydrophobic coatings including solvent-, water- or UV-based curing methods. The coatings are guaranteed to be removable with atmospheric plasma. The development includes florescent dyes, the variable colours of which indicate either coating ageing or post-application quality control. Such outcomes were also successfully marketed.

All new technologies were combined into a demonstrator system and tested in cultural heritage applications. Team members showed the demonstrator at various events and workshops. The protocol was proven to be an improvement over standard methodologies, while the plasma jet presents no risk to operators.

The PANNA developments mean safer and more reliable efforts in preserving and protecting vulnerable cultural artefacts. The system is also marketable to a small, yet profitable sector.

Related information


Restoration, cultural heritage, preservation, plasma device, artefacts, PANNA
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