75405 - Materials Preservation for Cultural Heritage M

Course Unit Page


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

Sustainable cities Climate Action Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the class, student has knowledge of the basic methodological tools useful to make a correct selection and application of materials and technologies for the conservation of historic building materials, aiming to effectiveness, compatibility and durability. In particular, at the end of the course he/she is able to specify the requirements that must be met by the materials for the historic building rehabilitation and the prevention of decay phenomena.

Course contents

The course is divided into two modules (3 credits each).


Module 1 (Prof. Elisa Franzoni)

Historic building materials: natural stones; fired-clay bricks; binders, mortars, plasters/renders, stuccoes and finishing; timber; cements; artificial stones and cement-based concrete. Classification and microstructure. Historic and technological evolution.


Historic building materials and environment: pollutants and physical-mechanical and chemical decay processes in building materials. Role of moisture in materials decay.


Destructive and non-destructive diagnostic techniques for the characterization of historic building materials and their transformation products. Case histories. Standards.


Materials and technologies for the conservation and preservation of materials. Effectiveness, compatibility and durability requirements. Surfaces maintenance and cleaning. Materials and technologies for consolidation. Materials and technologies for surface protection. Dehumidification systems for historic masonries. Inspections and monitoring of repaired buildings.

Case histories on the materials and technologies above.


Degree theses: on every topic of the course, in a practical and applied perspective, also in collaboration with other teachers of the Course, Public Institutions, Enterprises, etc.


Module 2 (Prof. Noura Raddadi)


Major prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes of interest for the biodeterioration/biocuring of cultural heritage. Classification of microorganisms. Main features and physiology of bacteria, archaea, fungi (yeasts and molds), algae, lichens.


Metabolism of microorganisms of interest for cultural heritage. Anabolic and catabolic pathways occurring on stoneworks and their close interactions. Aerobic respiration of organic and inorganic matter. Anaerobic respiration: overview on the biochemistry, microbiology and relevance of the anaerobic respiration process for the removal of black crusts from stone monuments (i.e., nitrate-reduction, sulfate-reduction).


Culture-dependent and independent approaches (molecular techniques) for the analysis of microbial communities involved in biotederioration of cultural heritage.


Application of microrganisms and/or their enzymes for the bioremediation of altered cultural heritage and for conservation purposes.


- Standards and recommendations  (EN, NORMAL, etc.)




- Madigan et al. (2012) Brock-Biology of microorganisms .


Slides on the topics of the course are made available to the students, as a support to learning.

Teaching methods

Photographic supports will be used for a better showing of the case histories about the course topics.

Didactic outings in historic buildings and/or restoration workplaces.

Assessment methods

Final oral examination.

The examination is aimed at assessing the learning of the topics of both moduli and is carried out in a single oral test.

The examination dates for the whole year and the registration lists are available on-line on the official AlmaEsami website (the lists are closed 24 hrs. before each exam date).

Office hours

See the website of Elisa Franzoni

See the website of Noura Raddadi