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Silvia Prati

Associate Professor

Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician"

Academic discipline: CHIM/12 Chemistry for the Environment and for Cultural Heritage

Director of Second Cycle Degree in Science for the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage


The microchemical and microscopy laboratory is involved in the  chemical -physical characterisations of samples of artistic interest. The research aims to study the production technique, the state of  conservation, the identification of new procedures for restoration. The different research lines are conducted with the help of technological equipments present in the laboratory or  with the collaboration of other research groups, such as: • Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) • Portable XRay Fluorescence (XRF) • Multi-Spectral Scanner Imaging System •  Optical Microscopy • FTIR microscopy (ATR, diamond cell, Mapping) • X-ray Diffractometry (XRD) • Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) • Ion Chromatography (IC) • Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) • Color measurement

Characterization of organic and inorganic components of historical, artistic and archaeological interest

A methodological approach is employed for the characterization of the composition of historical, artistic and archaeological samples. The protocol consist on the preliminary use of  non-destructive analysis for the correct planning of the sampling campaign. The information gained is crucial to rebuild the painting technique, provide information useful for support attribution studies or to establish the necessary restoration operations within nationally and internationally campaigns (for example: Diagnostic project on the cycle Uomini Illustri, Palazzo Ducale d'Urbino  in collaboration with the University of Urbino and the Center de recherche et de restoration des Musées de France, Diagnostic project on the Baptism and the Holy Family attributed to Andrea Mantegna in collaboration with the University of Urbino).

Development of new protectivse  for outdoor exposed bronze s

 This project is in the frame of EU-ARTECH funded within the Sixth Framework Program. The aim of our laboratory is experimenting  new organic (such as silicates) and inorganic protectives for the protection of bronzes using standard samples to test different treatments and study the effects before and after aging. In particular the interaction between protectives and materials and  passivation treatments of the bronze with formation of  copper oxalate are studied.

Development of new integrated non-invasive and microdestructive analyses in the field of conservation of cultural heritage

This research aims to increase the sensitivity of the methods of analysis and expand the range of the possible analyzed substances. In particular we are developing the following activities:

-         development of alternative methods of stratigraphic preparation in order to eliminate the embedded resin pollution effects

-         development of mapping and imaging techniques for  organic matter characterisation and localisation in paint cross section;  particular attentionwill be paid to the characterization of proteins with selective immunochemiluminescent technques in collaboration with tprof. Roda Group

-         testing the far infrared spectroscopy technique as complementary to RAMAN spectroscopy.

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