SUSPLART in brief
Protection, conservation and restoration of cultural heritage objects and artefacts made from natural polymers still represents a huge challenge for both conservators-restorers and scientists due to their high sensitivity to most of the conservation-restoration traditional and recently developed materials and technique. The actual challenge concerning physical-chemical cleaning and biological decontamination is not only to develop new technologies with improved efficiency with respect to traditional ones, but also to provide sustainable tools for mass customized cleaning and decontamination of big collection at risk associated to biological attack, climate change or natural hazards. Such tools should be both compatible with the cultural heritage asset, cost-effective and allowing easy handling. Current interest in plasma use for natural polymeric materials treatment is mainly driven by the availability of new types of equipment generating low-temperature plasma discharge at atmospheric pressure.
The main objective of the SUSPLART is to study the suitability of plasma technology for the cleaning and treatment of natural polymeric materials such as leather, parchment, wood and textiles and develop a cost-effective, versatile, environmentally friendly, non-thermal plasma system for
⦁ effective cleaning
⦁ delivering improved leather for artistic and archival bookbindings, e.g. with high dye affinity and dust repellent.
The effects of low-temperature atmospheric plasma on natural polymeric materials are still not well explored even though it has great potential to become an efficient tool for surface treatment. By producing high frequency electrical discharge, plasma generates an ionized gas that can modify the surface properties of materials for specific purposes.
As cleaning/disinfection tool plasma has the advantage to treat complex surface geometries and avoid the use of solvents. SUSPLART technology is intended to provide many benefits:
⦁ remove organic contaminants by chemical reaction (O2 or air plasma) and superficial layers by physical ablation (argon plasma) without affecting the bulk properties of the material
⦁ clean surfaces with microscale porosity (leather, parchment) or microchannels (wood) not suitable for solvent cleaning due to surface tension limitations
⦁ remove microbial contaminants
⦁ render surfaces hydrophobic and water/dust repellent
⦁ Increase / control the affinity of the surface to the dyes, improve the colour quality, increase the uniform distribution of dyes.
The project will build on the earlier work carried out by the coordinator (STUBA) that focused on technologies for cleaning and protection of paper and wood artefacts, as well as on research performed by INCTDP-ICPI on parchment, leather and textile degradation and damage assessement. It will benefit from various complementary expertise: plasma technology (Kamea), conservation-restoration (CONREST Expert srl and Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum) and art bookbindery (OSCAR Print srl).
⦁ STUBA – Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava
Department of Wood, Pulp and Paper
⦁ INCDT-ICPI, Bucharest
Advanced Research for Cultural Heritage (ARCH) Group
⦁ Kamea Electronics s.r.o.
⦁ Conrest Expert S.R.L.
⦁ National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”
⦁ Oscar Print S.R.L.