Naturwissenschaften und Technologie in der Kunst; Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien; Schillerplatz 3; 1010 Wien
Research > Projects > Archive Print

Characterisation of the Ageing Process of Binding Media in Objects of Art by GC-MS/FID and FTIR

The chemical identification of inorganic and organic materials used in works of art provides both art historians as well as conservation scientists with important information concerning the technique used by an artist and hence the provenance or authentication of an artefact. A big variety of natural organic materials including proteins, resins, drying oils and waxes has been used as binding media, adhesive for fillings and other purposes producing works of art. Their complex chemical composition, their natural variation of contents and their alteration due to environmental influences as well as the limited amount of sample material usually available for an analysis represents a challenge for modern analytical chemistry including sampling, sample preparation and the choice of the analysis technique.

Therefore, samples of drying oils, resins, animal glues and waxes as well as their mixtures, which were allowed to age under varying conditions (light, temperature and relative humidity) will be analysed. Investigations will also cover the influence of pigments, which have a big effect on the alteration process. The combination of mass and infrared-spectroscopic techniques enables the identification of degradation products as well as the chronological process of the oxidation. The aim of these investigations includes the investigation of auto-oxidation processes as well as the development of methods of their prevention. Libraries of chromatograms, mass spectra and FTIR spectra of fresh, artificially aged and old natural binding media will be built up and will give us an improved and powerful tool to study valuable art works.