Automatic damage assessment system for cultural heritage leathers and parchments

It is intended to develop new non-destructive or micro destructive techniques for damage assessment of different historical collagen-based materials based on innovative software. These techniques will contribute to faster and more accurate analysis of patrimony objects.

European museums, religious places of worship and State Archives preserve a large number of documents, books and objects partially made by leather and parchment dated from the 4th to the 20th century. The collagen structure of parchments or leathers is degraded under the influence of environmental factors: temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pollutants, light, storage conditions etc. This project is being proposed with the increasing concerns regarding the impact of environmental factors climate change and pollution increase on the conservation of cultural heritage collagen based materials. The aim of this project is to create an automatic damage assessment system for Cultural Heritage leathers and parchments based on an innovative software,being an important tool for assessment, restoration and reproduction processes of these old collagenic materials. The main objectives of the proposed project are: 1. A new software designed for automatic detection of the shrinkage temperature and intervals from the Micro Hot Table analysis of the collagen fibers. 2.Analytical data collection of investigation of different Cultural Heritage leathers and parchments by FTIR and MHT method. 3. An analytic assessment protocol for different damages that takes place in collagen fibers from leathers and parchments. This protocol will include assessments by micro-destructive or nondestructive methods for all damage levels. 4. Evaluation of old parchments and leathers by using nondestructive and micro-destructive methods and new protocol. 5. Simulation of degradation phenomena by artificial aging and software application. 6. Determination of main parameters which damage parchment and leather objects in both countries. 7. Application of new software for new materials assessment intended to be used for restoration. 8. Application of analytical information for the development of standardized tanning/finishing protocols for the production of facsimiles and leather articles in order to achieve accurate reproductions, based on their damage level and organoleptic characteristics. The degradation phenomenon is connected to the changing in the collagen structure at all levels, from fibers to fibrils and molecules. These deteriorations can be evaluated by the damage type on various structure levels: macroscopic, microscopic, mezoscopic, nanoscopic and molecular. The environmental conditions act by breaking the links between macromolecules, molecules and chains. The specific triple helical structure characteristic of collagen is rigid because of strong interactions through existing hydrogen bonds between hydroxyl groups of hydroxyproline and amine groups of glycine which leads to the formation of a fibrous crystalline zone embedded into an amorphous matrix. By applying some complex non-destructive, noninvasive and micro-destructive analysis methods such as spectrometry (FTIR, ATR-FTIR, UV-VIS, NIR), optical and electronic microscopy (SEM, TEM), thermal analysis (DTA, DSC,MHT etc.), quick information on conservation and degradation condition in cultural heritage leather and parchments objects, and environmental influence on these, for different kinds of degradation from macroscopic to molecular levels can be obtained. Characterization of historical materials is a complex analytical problem because they are extremely in-homogeneous due to the material structure and production/manufacture processes, and because the sampling requirements are usually very restrictive. Degraded historical materials represent an even more challenging area of research, as they are less well defined and more in-homogeneous as new objects when we manufacture new materials for replacing, restoration and reproduction. Noninvasive investigation usually describes damage, but does not explain the type of deterioration, whereas micro-invasive methods ensure both the qualitative and quantitative characterization and thus ranking of damage needed to decide how an object should be preserved and restored. These characterizations will be completed by a innovative software which will improve the shrinkage temperature estimation by being faster and more accurate. The limitation of reproducing old parchments and bookbinding is the difficulty of simulation the organoleptic characteristics of the original material. Tanning/finishing protocols will be developed according to the organoleptic characteristics and damage level. The application of software and database will provide the basis for selecting the protocol to be applied.
Project ID: 
5 837
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
780 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Automation, Robotics Control Systems
Market Area: 
Applications software

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