Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies for the conservation of the materials of cultural heritage

J. Rathousky, V. Kalousek, R. Zouzelka
J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, CZ

Keywords: conservation science, cultural heritage, nanomaterials, micelles, sol-gel materials


Conservation science is one of the most complex topics in the materials science as it requires expertise ranging from the history of art and archaeology to the advanced analytical and physical chemistry. However, the recent development has shown that the complex tasks of the conservation of the cultural heritage can be solved very effectively using novel nanomaterials and nanotechnology procedures. The present communication is aimed at two aspects of the consolidation, namely at the micelar solutions suitable for the cleaning the surfaces of historic materials and at stone consolidants with excellent mechanical stability. We have developed very efficient cleaning agents based on aqueous micelar solutions of non-ionic Pluronic copolymers, with added co-surfactant such as 1-pentanol, and additional solvents, which help to degrade the deposit to be removed. We have recently developed a novel preparation strategy called “brick and mortar” based on the fusion of preformed nanocrystals with surfactant-templated sol-gel material. This technique enables to obtain consolidants based on amorphous SiO2 with very good mechanical properties. Further the introduced nanoparticles can provide new functionalities, such as photocatalytic activity (e.g., TiO2 nanoparticles), enabling to reduce the deposition of dirt by its photocatalytical removal.