Polish Scientists Developing Nanotechnology to Protect Works of Art
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small, Polish Scientists Developing Nanotechnology to Protect Works of Art, Telecommunications department at AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, photo: Jan Graczyński / East News, agh_en.jpg
Boffins from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków are working on the creation of effective and safe materials for use in the protection of works of art and historic monuments.
The use of nanotechnology has led to the rise of new opportunities in this area. The head of the project, Professor Konrad Szaciłowski, said:
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We want to use the new nanotech to protect, preserve and mark pieces of art. Nanotechnology is new, fast growing field of knowledge and gives us the opportunities that we couldn’t have with the traditional tools.
Artwork restorer Natalia Balasa highlighted that the materials currently used for art renovation are not only ineffective, but often very toxic. She explained:
We are on the lookout for materials which are safe for humans and which would better protect artworks.
Amongst the materials needed by renovators is a substance for the cleaning of the paintings’ outer paint layers. She noticed that:
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The means used nowadays often interfere with the painted structure, with the effect that after some years, these substances change their colour and properties.
The restorers need also better repellents and painting pigments. According to the analysis conducted as part of the project, new, efficient and safe materials are products needed on the Polish market. Balasa said:
A lack of safe materials and substances for the protection of artworks is a big hindrance for us.
She noticed that the materials undergoing research by AGH scientists may be used for the protection of different kinds of objects. Thanks to this, polychromes, paintings on canvas and other materials can return to their former glory. New methods can be used in wall painting, sculpture restoration, as well as in the renewal of the walls of historic buildings.
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The conceptual phase of the project, which is currently in its final phase, lasted for one-and-a-half years. Researching into the demand for this kind of product among artwork restorers was additionally undertaken during this phase. A research and development phase is set to be launched soon, with physicists and chemists lined up to use nano-materials in their laboratories in an effort to create a substance needed by artwork renovators. The mastermind behind the idea, Kacper Pilarczyk, said:
Using nanotechnology and new research methods should make the process of restoring art easier, safer and more efficient.
The first place where the substances created by the scientists from Kraków could potentially be used is the underbelly of the Main Market Square – Rynek Underground, a department of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków. The new materials would be used to preserve medieval walls and historical buildings, depicting the Kraków of yore. Institutions from Warsaw and Toruń have also shown interest in using the new technologies.
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The project Nauka na Pograniczu Sztuki – Synteza Nowych Nanomateriałów na Potrzeby Malarstwa oraz Konserwacji Zabytków (Science on The Verge of Art – A Synthesis of New Nanomaterials for The Restoration of Paintings And Historical Monuments) is financed by the National Science Centre.
renovation of artworks
Historical Museum of the City of Kraków
Originally written in Polish by MD, translated by BR, 2016