87588 - Advanced Materials for Cultural Heritage

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will acquire knowledge on new materials employed in cultural heritage for conservation and restoration (consolidants, protectives, cleaning agents). In addition, the student will acquire knowledge concerning analytical approach for the material characterization as well as for their assessment in conservation practices.

Course contents

The course will be focused on advanced materials used in conservation with particular reference to systems for the consolidation, protection and cleaning.

  • Principles of polymer science: synthesis, properties and degradation
  • Polymer characterization: diagnostic approaches for the assessment and selection criteria of the polymeric material.
  • Nanostructures for cultural heritage
  • Nanostructured hydroxides and carbonates for consolidation.
  • Microemulsions, Micelles and Gels: principles and application for cleaning cultural heritage.
Analytical methods for the evaluation of the system performances.


Lectures' slides

Reference tests (not compulsory!):

- Baglioni, Piero, David Chelazzi, and Rodorico Giorgi. Nanotechnologies in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage: A compendium of materials and techniques. Springer, 2014.

- Chelazzi, D., Giorgi, R., & Baglioni, P. (2017). Microemulsions, Micelles and Functional Gels. How Colloid and Soft Matter Preserve Works of Art. Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

- Samorì, C., Galletti, P., Giorgini, L., Mazzeo, R., Mazzocchetti, L., Prati, S., ... & Tagliavini, E. (2016). The Green Attitude in Art Conservation: Polyhydroxybutyrate–based Gels for the Cleaning of Oil Paintings. ChemistrySelect, 1(15), 4502-4508.

- Prati, S., Volpi, F., Fontana, R., Galletti, P., Giorgini, L., Mazzeo, R., ... & Tagliavini, E. (2018). Sustainability in art conservation: a novel bio-based organogel for the cleaning of water sensitive works of art. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 90(2), 239-251.

- M.G. Cowie and V. Arrighi, "Polymers: Chemistry and Physics of Modern Materials", 3rd Edition, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, 2008.

Teaching methods



The course includes both classroom lectures with powerpoint presentations and laboratory sessions for practical experience

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of a discussion on the topics covered in class, aimed at the evaluation of the theoretical knowledge acquired during the course, the possession of a specific language and the acquisition of an organic vision of the topics covered in class.
Good or excellent grades can be achieved by students who demonstrate a critical knowledge of the subject, who are able to apply theoretical concepts to practical examples and make use of an appropriate language. Mostly mnemonic knowledge, limited abilities of synthesis and analysis and imprecise language lead to grades ranging from discrete to sufficient. Important gaps, inappropriate language, lack of an overview of the topics covered will inevitably lead to a barely adeguate grade or to a negative evaluation.

The topics discussed during the laboratory session are an integral part of the oral examination.

At the end the teacher assigns a score (from 18/18 to a max of 30/30 cum laude) that reflects student's degree of preparation.

Teaching tools

Videoprojector, PC.

Office hours

See the website of Giorgia Sciutto

See the website of Chiara Gualandi