Preservation of stone artworks from ageing

Researchers have used halloysite nanotubes-based nanocomposites for the hydrophobisation of hydraulic mortar and generated films with perspectives in stone protection.

The presence of microwax in the material has a fundamental role in the coating effectiveness as the biopolymeric film alone would not represent a valid protective film.  Image source: Evan1205 - Pixabay (symbol image).

The treatment of stone surfaces for their protection from ageing caused by natural and anthropogenic effects is an open issue in materials development for Cultural Heritage. Researchers have studied the suitability of a modified cellulose biofilm filled with halloysite nanotubes as wax compatibilisers to design a protecting layer. A hydraulic mortar was selected as a stone prototype.

Perspectives in stone protection

To improve the physico-chemical properties of the covering layer, wax microparticles have been incorporated to control transport, consolidation and wettability features. In particular, different application protocols have been studied, namely brushing and spraying, to assess whether the proposed procedures can be scaled up. Colourimetric analysis has been carried out to evidence the applicability in terms of colour alteration after the treatment. Water adhesion was investigated by measuring the contact angle values as a function of time to obtain information on spreading and adsorption phenomena.

After all, the scientists demonstrated that wax microparticles dispersed in a biopolymeric matrix by using halloysite nanotubes can generate new nanocomposite films with perspectives in stone protection.

The study has been published in Journal of Coatings Technology and Research, Volume 18, November 2021.

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