70867 - Diagnostics and degradation of ceramic and stone materials

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Giuseppe Maria Bargossi (Modulo 1) Francesco Dellisanti (Modulo 2) Gian Carlo Grillini (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage (cod. 8616)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will have knowledge regarding the properties of the main natural stones (granites, marbles, sandstones) and of the artificial stones (mortar, plaster, terracotta and ancient pottery) and regarding the causes and the processes of deterioration of stone materials employed in artworks. In particular, it is able to: - know the characteristics and resistance to degradation of the main natural stones used for the realization of artworks; - distinguish and classify the causes and occurrence of physical, chemical and biological degradation of stone materials; - know the properties and the degradation problems of mortar, plaster, stucco, architectural terracotta and ceramic materials used in the archaeological and architectural field; - apply the Norms UNI 11182 in the activities of the restoration site.

Course contents

Natural stone materials of ancient and modern employment (Granites, Marbles and Stones): - mineralogical and petrographic characteristics and mechanical properties. Ancient and modern artificial stone materials (binders, mortars, plasters, stucco, concrete, brick masonry, roofing tiles, opus tessellatum, opus sectile, opus signinum): - raw materials used in the production process, structure and mineralogical composition of the finished product.

Mineralogical and petrographic study with the use of optical microscopy and diffraction, determination of the morphologies of degradation, understanding of the physical, chemical and biological degradation processes.

Composition, manufacturing process and degradation problems of terracotta and ceramic materials used in the field of archeology and architecture.

Sampling, cataloging and processing of a diagnostic test, use of the UNI 11182 in the activities of the restoration sites.


Primavori P. (1999): Planet Stone. Zusi Ed., Verona. ISBN 88-900067-1-4

Orton C., Tyres P., Vince A. (1993): Pottery in archaeology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 798-0-521-44597-9

Hodges H. (2009): Artifacts. Duckworth London. ISBN 978-0715623169

Perkins D. (2011): Mineralogy. Pearson. ISBN-13: 978-0-321-66306-1

Ingham J.P. (2013) Geomaterials under the microscope. Academic Press

Teaching methods

The course consists of frontal lessons and laboratory practice. The teaching activity will be developed in collaboration with sector's specialists and will be supplemented with visits at monuments.

Assessment methods

The learning assessment is through a two-hour practice test and a final oral examination. The practice test seeks to ascertain the skills acquired in the classification of natural and artificial stones. Is evaluated through a judgment which must be positive to allow access to the oral test. The period of validity of the written test exceeded is limited to a single session of exams. The oral exam aims to test knowledge acquisition under the program of the course. Both the practical and the oral test have the additional purpose of verifying the learning of general methods of study of the stones and the acquisition of critical judgment in the procedures to be adopted in the restoration. The final score, expressed in thirtieths, takes into account the grade achieved in both tests.

Teaching tools

LCD projector for Power Point presentations. Collections of rocks samples and thin sections of rocks, bricks, mortars and ceramics. Transmitted Polarized Light Microscopes, photomicroscope with digital camera, XRD, XRF and SEM-EDS. Thermogravimetry-differential thermal analisys (TG-DTA), (DTG).

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe Maria Bargossi

See the website of Francesco Dellisanti

See the website of Gian Carlo Grillini


Sustainable cities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.