To Touch Or Not To Touch? State-of-the-art Challenges of Heritage Diagnostics
Dr. Matija Strlic
Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Heritage at the Centre for Sustainable Heritage
University College London, UK
November 12, 2009
About the Lecture:
The presentation outlined the importance of the underlying materials science in optimizing preservation of cultural heritage materials, especially the challenges faced in the development of non-destructive analytical methods and integrating this with medical diagnostic techniques. Understanding material change is of fundamental importance in optimization of heritage preservation. However, heritage materials diagnostics is challenging: not only because sampling of a work of art is usually not allowed, but because the laboratory is typically required to travel to the artwork.
In recent years, the development of diagnostic technologies has allowed for exciting new developments in heritage science. This includes organic material characterization—possible on the basis of a single image, taken in an entirely non-destructive manner—and diagnoses of the very diluted chemicals emitted by an artwork during degradation. Both approaches allow us to visualize composition and quantify damage without even touching the object.
The presentation briefly focused on various applications developed for paper-based objects, including inks on paper, and plastic heritage materials, using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR). It also touched upon the latest research on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted from paper materials, which enable us to diagnose in much the same manner as breath analysis is used in medical diagnostics, but which also contribute to infectious spreading of degradation in collections.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Matija Strlic is the Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Heritage at the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London, UK. His research interest lies in development of new scientific tools and methods of study of heritage materials and interactions with their environment, along with environmental assessment. Before his appointment at the Centre, he worked at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (1995-2007) and was also visiting lecturer at EVTEK (Helsinki) in 2007.