Effects of cleaning procedures on the long-term corrosion behavior of bronze artifacts of the cultural heritage in outdoor environment.

Affiliation

Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering "Giulio Natta", Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133, Milan, Italy. [Email]

Abstract

The cleaning of metallic artworks is a crucial step for their preservation. Cleaning operations generally aim at removing deposits and corrosion layers, and all the non-stable and potentially reactive phases formed as a consequence of the interaction of the metal with the environment. Thus, all secondary-formed compounds and layers that can undermine the overall preservation of the artwork, both from the esthetic and the corrosion point of view, should be removed. On the other hand, superficial stable patinas contributing to the artistic and historic value of the objects and that may provide protection to the metallic surface should be preserved. The optimal cleaning procedure should be able to promote a long-term improvement of the corrosion resistance of the surfaces. Therefore, the long-term monitoring of the corrosion behavior of the cleaned surfaces with electrochemical techniques could provide valuable information for the selection of the optimal methodology. In this work, five cleaning procedures have been applied to five bronze sculptures. The cleaned surfaces have been characterized following a multi-analytical and non-invasive approach, and the long-term evolution of their corrosion behavior has been monitored by means of on-site non-invasive linear polarization resistance (LPR) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements for more than 2 years.

Keywords

Atmospheric corrosion,Cleaning,Cultural heritage,Electrochemical techniques,Long-term monitoring,Outdoor bronze,

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