This contribution focuses on spectrometric analyses carried out on crust samples covering the stone surface of the boundary walls of the Tower of London. The main goal of this research is to investigate the degradation processes related to the environmental impact on cultural heritage. Specifically, the chemical contamination of stone substrate in the Tower of London due to the crust formation was examined through laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). This technique allowed us to achieve a complete characterization of the damage layers in terms of trace elements. In addition, optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS) and infrared spectroscopic techniques (FT-IR) were also used for an exhaustive characterization of the examined samples. Results obtained demonstrated that such a geochemical approach represents a powerful diagnostic tool in the study of black crusts, since it represents a reliable indicator of the environmental pollution. The higher concentrations of most heavy metals in black crusts with respect to the underlying stone suggest that crusts were greatly influenced by atmospheric inputs in their formation, mainly represented by mobile combustion sources. In addition, the possibility of analyzing in some samples the portion of altered substrate allowed us to hypothesize that some specific heavy metals tend to migrate from the crust to the unaltered substrate over time, becoming catalysts for the formation of new crust. Therefore, this research focuses on the role of diagnostics in order to plan suitable cleaning and consolidation intervention aimed at a better protection of the monument.

Geochemical study of black crusts as a diagnostic tool in cultural heritage

LA RUSSA, Mauro Francesco;BARCA, Donatella;CRISCI, Gino Mirocle;
2013

Abstract

This contribution focuses on spectrometric analyses carried out on crust samples covering the stone surface of the boundary walls of the Tower of London. The main goal of this research is to investigate the degradation processes related to the environmental impact on cultural heritage. Specifically, the chemical contamination of stone substrate in the Tower of London due to the crust formation was examined through laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). This technique allowed us to achieve a complete characterization of the damage layers in terms of trace elements. In addition, optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS) and infrared spectroscopic techniques (FT-IR) were also used for an exhaustive characterization of the examined samples. Results obtained demonstrated that such a geochemical approach represents a powerful diagnostic tool in the study of black crusts, since it represents a reliable indicator of the environmental pollution. The higher concentrations of most heavy metals in black crusts with respect to the underlying stone suggest that crusts were greatly influenced by atmospheric inputs in their formation, mainly represented by mobile combustion sources. In addition, the possibility of analyzing in some samples the portion of altered substrate allowed us to hypothesize that some specific heavy metals tend to migrate from the crust to the unaltered substrate over time, becoming catalysts for the formation of new crust. Therefore, this research focuses on the role of diagnostics in order to plan suitable cleaning and consolidation intervention aimed at a better protection of the monument.
black crusts; pollution
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/147895
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