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

Projects supported by the Austrian Science Fund
(FWF – Fonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung in Österreich)

The Last Judgement Triptych by Hieronymus Bosch
FWF-Project No. P23848
Das Weltgerichtstriptychon von Hieronymus Bosch in Wien
Pressebericht im "Standard" vom 15.5.2013 (online auf

The Enigma of the Sinaitic Glagolitic Tradition
FWF-Project No. 23133
Das Rätsel der sinaitischen glagolitischen Tradition

Material Influence on the Sound of Brasses
FWF-Project No. 23105
Materialeinfluss auf den Klang von Blechblasinstrumenten

Byzantine Small Finds and Their Workshops in Ephesus
FWF-Project No. 22941
Byzantinische Kleinfunde und ihre Werkstätten aus Ephesos

Analysis of Synthetic Organic Materials in Contemporary Art
FWF-Project No. L699-N17
Materialanalyse für die Zeitgenössische Kunst
Material Analysis for Contemporary Art


Bernadette Fruehmann, Manfred Schreiner, Michael Drakopoulos

Analysis of Paint Layers by Light Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Synchrotron induced X-ray Micro-Diffraction

The traditional way of analyzing cross-sections of paintlayers by using light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis (EDX) is limited by the fact that the pigments can only be identified by their elemental constituents. If, e.g. in a white layer Pb can be determined, the presence of lead white is concluded. As pigments can occur in various crystallographic structures, the compound specific analysis can yield further information.

Synchrotron induced x-ray micro-diffraction analysis (XRD) has the spatial resolution and enables the identification of the crystalline structure of pigments present in a paint layer. Scanning the cross-sectioned sample through a focused x-ray beam with a size of 2 µm allows microscopic resolved analysis of the crystalline constituents within the various paint layers.

Co-operations: ESRF - European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France

Vladan Desnica, Manfred Schreiner

An Approach of Multianalytical Techniques for studying Ultramarine Pigments

A comparative analysis of ultramarine pigments using x-ray fluorescence analysis, x-ray diffractometry, Raman and infrared spectroscopy as well as colorimetry was used. The advantages and disadvantages of the specific methods were evaluated and are discussed.

Co-operations: Molecular Physics Laboratory - Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Kroatia

K. Uhlir, S. Stanek, Robert Linke, Manfred Schreiner

Non-destructive Investigation of Ancient, Medieval and Modern Silver Objects and Coins by EDXRF and SEM/EDX

Ancient, medieval and modern silver coins were analyzed by energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence analysis (EDXRF) and energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis in a scanning electron microscope (SEM/EDX) in order to determine their authenticity and provenance. The examinations show that by analyzing the silver content and determining the trace element pattern it is possible to assign the coins of an unknown origin to their mints. For the interpretation of the data multivariate statistical methods like cluster and factor analysis were carried out. As most of these coins were corroded by wet soil, the influence of leaching effects on the results is also an object of investigation:

  1. Friesacher Pfennig
  2. Tiroler Kreuzer
  3. Sasaniden
  4. The Hoard of Becin
  5. Roman Silver Coins of the Emperor Trajan
  6. The Hoard of Fuchsenhof
Co-operations: Univ. Doz. Dr. M. Alram, Coin Cabinet , Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
OeAW, Numismatische Kommission

Robert Linke, Manfred Schreiner

Corrosion Processes of Ancient Bronze and Modern Gold Coins

A number of bronze coins in the Coin Cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) Vienna is endangered and particularly heavily damaged by corrosion processes. The aim of the project is the development of a new concept for storage conditions of the coins. Therefore, investigations were carried out by means of energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence analysis (EDXRF), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Additionally, environmental measurements were carried out. The results reveal that the historic wooden storage cases emit gaseous pollutants, which influence the corrosion rate.

On a number of modern (19th cent.) gold coins, which were produced from 24 ct gold, traces of corrosion were observed. Investigations carried out in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) reveal tiny particles of an Ag/Cu alloy, imprinted in the surface of the coin. The Ag/Cu particles were applied during the manufacturing process in the mint. Due to the difference of potentials between Ag, Cu and Au, corrosion occurred yielding to tiny craters on the coin surface. Investigations carried out by energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis in the SEM (SEM/EDX) show traces of sulphur in the craters. Additionally, sulphides were formed on the surfaces of the coins. In co-operation with the conservation department of the Coin Cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum treatments are being developed in order to preserve the affected coins.

Co-operations: Coin Cabinet , Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Christoph Kleber, Manfred Schreiner

In-situ Investigations of Corrosion Phenomena occurring in the Metal-Atmosphere Interface

A main part of the fundamental research of our group is dealing with in-situ investigations of the early stages of corrosion of metallic and glass materials. In addition to well established methods like in-situ TM-AFM (tapping mode atomic force microscopy) and SIMS (secondary ion mass spectrometry) a new cell for in-situ FT-IR (Fourier transform infrared) investigations was developed and applied for these investigations. The newly developed cell allows a time resolved tracking of the chemical changes occurring on the materials' surfaces during weathering.

Co-operations: Prof. Dr. Ch.Leygraf, Royal Institute of Technology
Prof. Dr. G. Friedbacher, Vienna University of Technology, Institute of chemical Technologies and Analytics

Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger, Manfred Schreiner

Non-destructive Identification and Classification of Iridescent Art Nouveau Artifacts

Art Nouveau iridescent glass has been of great interest for public and private collections ever since this type of glass was produced. Classification and provenance identification have been performed by aesthetic and stylistic evaluations and comprehensive archive studies.
The goal of a project carried out by several Austrian research institutions and the Museum of Applied Art in Vienna is to develop a recognition procedure based on non-destructive analytical techniques such as Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) and x-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) supplemented with efficient data processing algorithms. Additionally, energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis in a scanning electron microscope (SEM/EDX) has been carried out to get better insights in the composition and structure of iridescent Art Nouveau glass artifacts.

Project supported by the Austrian National Bank (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Jubiläumsfonds).

Co-operations: Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Austrian Research Centre (Seibersdorf)
Research Centre Rossendorf Inc., Dresden/Germany
The New York Historical Society, USA
Passau Glass Museum/Germany
KKdt C. Clausen Baden/Austria (privat collector)
J. Ink.(glass artist) Baden/Austria

Katharina Dietrich, Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger, Manfred Schreiner

Glass of Ephesos - Classification of the Glass Findings from Hanghaus 1

As Ephesos was an important trade center in the Roman period, many excavated objects of daily life are expected to origin from different places. The question of provenance is of special importance for glass findings taking into account the technology of the ancient periods. Raw glass was melt in primary workshops placed in areas with plenty of fuel and with good associations to the sites of raw materials. From these workshops it was exported in form of small chunks to specific places of secondary production.
For that reason samples of glass fragments excavated in Ephesos in a residential area (Hanghaus1) were analyzed using energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis in a scanning electron microscope (SEM/EDX) and mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma excitation combined with laser ablation (LA-ICP MS).

Project supported by the Austrian National Bank (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Jubiläumsfond)

Co-operations: Austrian Archaeological Institute
Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics, Vienna University of Technology
Institute for Chemistry, Austrian University of Agricultural Sciences

Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger, Manfred Schreiner

Analytical Investigations of Silver Stained Glass

Silver stain is a glass paint that has been used by glass artists and glass conservators to achieve a permanent yellow colour. Due to the fact that the final colour of the silver stained glass is strongly dependant on the manufacturing process, the influence of parameters employed during manufacturing is investigated using several analytical methods (XRF, FTIR, SEM/EDX, TEM, and IBA).

Co-operations: Department Conservation/Restoration Glass, Polytechnic University of Antwerp/Belgium
Department of Chemistry, University of Antwerp
Electron Microscopy for Materials Research (EMAT), RUCA, University of Antwerp
Research Centre Rossendorf Inc, Dresden/Germany

Michael Melcher, Manfred Schreiner

Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation of the Corrosion Attack of Air Pollutants to Potash-Lime-Silica Glass (Medieval Stained Glass)

In the late 1980s a large scale exposure program has been started by the Working Group on Effects on Materials Including Historic and Cultural Monuments of the Economic Commission for Europe within the United Nations (UN/ECE). The aim of this project has been to perform a quantitative evaluation of the effects of various air pollutants as well as climatic parameters on the atmospheric corrosion of important materials like zinc, aluminium, copper, steel, bronze, stone, painting layers and glass. More than 15 countries, among them France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Austria are taking part in this International Cooperative Programme. Our institute is responsible for the preparation and evaluation of glass with a chemical composition similar to medieval staind glass objects.

Co-operations: Multi-Assess-Homepage

Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger, Manfred Schreiner

Ink Corrosion of Paper

The conservation and preservation of paper objects is often confronted with the problem of ink corrosion (degradation of the paper substrate in the domains around the ink). Several research projects have the aim to stop the degradation process of the paper fibers caused by the ink material like iron gall ink. Within the current research project analytical investigations using non-destructive micro x-ray fluorescence analysis (µ-XRF) were performed on original papers with iron gall ink dated to the 19th century (Lavater Collection, ÖNB) as well as on self-prepared test samples with iron gall ink. The aim of these investigations was to study the iron migration from the ink area into the surrounding paper after different treatment methods as well as after artificial ageing. Such measurements enable comparison of the conervation treatments usually used by paper conservators.

Project supported by Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit,
GZ.: 97.210/14 – IV/A/14/00.

Co-operations: Conservation Department, Austrian State Archive (ÖSTA)
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ÖNB)

Robert Linke, Manfred Schreiner

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

In order to enable conservation treatments for works of art, which are best suited to specific problems, the understanding of the chemistry of the ageing (degradation) processes is of main importance. In co-operation with the Conservation Science Department at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna , the Analytical Chemistry Division at the Institute for Chemical Technologies and Analytics at the Vienna University of Technology a network has been set up for studying alteration and degradation processes in organic binding media. Methods employed are GC, GC/MS, PY-GC/MS as well as FTIR spectrometry.

Project supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Project Nr.: 15809-N03

Co-operations: Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
Institute for Chemical Technologies and Analytics, Vienna University of Technology

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