Research team

Antwerp Cultural Heritage Sciences (ARCHES)

Expertise

Conservation of metals, including research and treatments.

Research and conservation treatments on eight objects. 23/09/2019 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

From the metal collections in the KMKG, a number of objects were selected to be researched and treated. It concerns liturgical and domestical objects made in copper- and silver alloys. Historical and material-technical research is conducted before a conservation treatment proposal is designed. When approved, the conservation treatments are carried out.

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Proof of concept for a decision support system to reduce the occupational risks of seafarers due to air quality. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

This project aims to explore the basic principles of a decision support system that allows the continuous monitoring of the working conditions of seafarers. For this purpose, it wants to (1) measure several environmental parameters simultaneously (e.g., temperature, light, NO2, O3, etc.), (2) convert the measurements into a global air quality, and (3) visualize the evolution in air quality so that seafarers can easily evaluate the working conditions. The system will be tested on a real-life case study.

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Research and treatment of five objects. 22/10/2018 - 31/10/2019

Abstract

The research and subsequent treatment concerns five archaeological objects from the Far-east collection of the Royal Museum for Art and History. Each object will be studied in all of its aspects and values. From these observations, a treatment proposal will be discussed with the responsible museum staff members.

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Research on a silver cleaning protocol for enhancing the preservation of the silver collection and the conservation-restoration of a 'Emile Anthony and Wolfers frères' cutlery set. 06/11/2017 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

Silver objects in the DIVA collection show variated grades of tarnishing. The research topic is to investigate to what extend the cleaning methods influence the degradation phenomena. A second part of the project involves the conservation-restoration of a gilded silver cutlery set.

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Research and treatment of copper engraving plaquettes from the collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. 31/10/2017 - 31/10/2019

Abstract

The research and treatment of copper engravings from the collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus, started because a large number of items has suffered from a former applied varnish layer and years of storage, which have led to an unwanted conservation state. This project is in close cooperation with the staff of the museum. Not only will there be tests executed and strategies explored, conclusions and practical applicability of the processes will be assessed together. The goal of the research is to define a cleaning- and treatment protocol for the copper engravings.All unwanted layers and substances have to be removed from their surfaces. Subsequently, an appropriate method of treating the surface has to be established to enable a proper preservation, but also the possibility for researchers and public to view the items when needed. Finally, the established protocol will be used on a part of the collection to asses its quality. A prototype of packaging will be introduced. The final protocol will enable the museum to take care of the complete collection of copper engravings and to make a new packaging and storage system for safe keeping and easy access.

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Analytical research on the lead printing letters in the collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. 31/10/2017 - 31/10/2019

Abstract

The analytical research on the lead printing letters will be performed by using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF). This technique enables a quick and non-invasive survay to determine the alloy compositions of the letters. Earlier research has shown that letters consisting of only lead and antimony are extremely sensitive to corrosion development. When tin is also present in the alloy, the danger of corroding is much less. To be able to distinguish the endangered alloys from the safer ones, these measurements are needed. The exhibited letters in the museum will be measured, but also the closed trays and paper packages will be monitored. XRF has the advantage to be able to measure through the paper and makes it unnecessary to open them. Iin close cooperation with the museum staff, descisions will be made for the endangered alloys to store them in appropriate and stable conditions. The XRF measurements will be executed exclusively by the promotor.

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Research for a conservation treatment methodology for corroded lead printing letters. 31/10/2017 - 31/10/2018

Abstract

Earlier research has shown that historical printing letters that consist only of lead and antimony, are extremely sensitive for developing corrosion. A small part of the collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus is severely corroded and is in fact considered lost. Another part however is not totally corroded and has the possibility to be conserved by means of chemical or electrochemical stabilisation. The present research is designed to find the most appropriate technique and products tot do so. The developed protocol is meant to be used for the conservation of the collection of printing letters and enabling a safe preservation for the future.

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Research and conservation treatments on cemetery objects from the burial places at Rosmeer and Grote Spouwen. 30/09/2017 - 03/09/2018

Abstract

Research and conservation treatments of cemetery objects from the burial places at Rosmeer and Grote Spouwen. The objects consists of metals, glass and other materials. Decision on the level of treatment and the required final aspect will be taken together with the responsible persons.

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Conservation of wall lights. 18/02/2017 - 31/03/2018

Abstract

The conservation and restoration of gilded bronze wall lights in the collection of the Province of Antwerp. Research on the golden finish layers, structural integrity, cleaning, protecting for the future and restoring their practical use.

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Research on the corrosion of lead-antimony alloys in simulated museum atmospheric conditions 01/07/2014 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

Museum collections hold art objects in lead-alloys with a high antimony content besides tin, copper or iron. Historic type, harpsichord rosettes or lead cames in stained-glass windows are examples. In some cases, these alloys show an extreme type of corrosion development. The relation between the alloy content ratios, the microstructure and the environmental conditions is studied in function of the art objects conservation.

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X-Ray Fluorescence measurements on 40 lead organ pipes in the Sint-Paulus church, Antwerp 15/03/2014 - 30/06/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand Kerkfabriek. UA provides Kerkfabriek research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Examination of 20 lead rosettes in Ruckers harpsichords by means of X-ray fluorescence (XRF). 05/12/2013 - 28/02/2014

Abstract

The aim of this project is to determine by X-Ray Fluorescent measurements the alloy composition of lead roses from Ruckers chlavichords to find a relation to their manufacturing and period. In 80% of the measured roses there was a relation shown between the alloy composition and the makers from generations of Ruckers chlavichord builders family.

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Plasma and Nano for New Age 'soft' conservation (PANNA). 01/10/2013 - 31/10/2014

Abstract

Objectives: - Advanced coatings for protection of cultural heritage assets. - Portable plasma torch for surface cleaning and deposition of protective coatings. - Self-diagnostic protective coatings for conservation of stone, metal and wall paintings. - Invisible marker coatings for identification and anti-counterfeiting purposes.

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Characterisation of sulphide layers on silver-copper alloys and of yellowish films that are formed during atmospheric plasma treatment of tarnished silver 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

The aim of this project is to understand why yellowish films are formed during plasma cleaning of tarnished silver-copper alloys. The intensity of these films for alloys containing less than 97 w% of silver increases with the amount of copper in the alloy. In order to understand this phenomenon both sulphide layers and yellowish films will be analysed in detail.

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