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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Impacts of PM pollution on cultural heritage

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.04.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry   

Code Science Field
P305  Natural sciences and mathematics  Environmental chemistry 

Code Science Field
1.04  Natural Sciences  Chemical sciences 
Keywords
air quality, PM pollution, cultural heritage, conservation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  52004  PhD Monika Arnič  Chemical engineering  Junior researcher  2019 - 2022  30 
2.  11517  PhD Marjan Bele  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  549 
3.  53807  Ivana Drventić  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2020 - 2022  15 
4.  03587  PhD Irena Grgić  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2022  365 
5.  31996  PhD Ana Kroflič  Chemical engineering  Head  2019 - 2022  157 
6.  36328  PhD Eva Menart  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2022  124 
7.  25442  PhD Martin Šala  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2022  346 
8.  38258  PhD Kristijan Vidović  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2021  64 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,112 
2.  0613  National museum of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055482000  2,752 
Abstract
The interaction of air pollutants with exposed materials leads to materials degradation and loss. This also holds true for objects of cultural heritage, causing immeasurable damage to the community. Among all atmospheric pollutants, particulate matter (PM) has been recently identified to be the most responsible for material recession outdoors and is also found problematic in in-house museum repositories without air filtration. It is believed that future soiling (i.e., surface blackening due to particle deposition) of stone heritage will be primarily caused by organic aerosols with different chemical composition from that of the historic black crusts still present on almost all monuments in Europe. However, very little to nothing is known about the interactions of the deposited organic PM with the underlying surfaces. Therefore, we aim to i) recognize the damaging potential of the OC fraction of atmospheric aerosols and ii) understand the modes of action with which PM damages material surfaces, in order to iii) assess the risk and recognize necessary actions for better protection of cultural heritage in Slovenia, and worldwide. A new platform for assessing the risk for cultural heritage in Slovenia by using air-monitoring data will be set up. This will allow for future climate change impact, vulnerability and risk assessments referring to the national objects of cultural significance and will be a good source of information for the development of national multi-sectoral adaptation policies (e.g., air quality standards). Two realistic environments in the National Museum of Slovenia (NMS), where objects are either stored or exhibited, will also be evaluated. This new information is crucial for both the management of the NMS and museum managing directors worldwide, as they will be able to plan appropriately if and which objects can be stored safely in an uncontrolled atmosphere/environment in the future and whether the removal of deposited fine particles (i.e. surface cleaning) should be a priority. PM material deposited on the surfaces of passive particle collectors made of five materials typical of cultural heritage objects (limestone, lime sandstone, marble and two types of clay ceramics) will be characterized and source apportionment will be made by the concomitant air-quality monitoring. Focus will be on the brown carbon fraction of PM, i.e. the OC fraction exhibiting light absorption in the visible range, which could also contribute to the darkening of soiled surfaces. Furthermore, chemical aging (i.e. weathering) of the deposited PM (and material surfaces) will be studied with help of another set of passive particle collectors which will be exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution for the duration of the project. Surface samples will be periodically taken and analyzed for their physical and chemical properties. At the very end of the project, state-of-the-art analytical techniques, i.e. scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and micro-destructive laser ablation tandem inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), will be additionally used for the characterization of the surface samples, which allow powerful atomic-resolution surface investigation and mapping/profiling. The same techniques will also be used in the analysis of surface samples taken from the real archeological objects which belong to NMS. As regards the investigation of soiled materials surface aging, this is a breakthrough study. The main components of organic aerosols responsible for materials degradation will be identified for the first time and their modes of action will be proposed. Moreover, this knowledge will allow easier planning of appropriate preventive measures in the future.
Significance for science
The proposed multidisciplinary project combines two globally important topics – atmospheric research and cultural heritage protection. Therefrom the expected impacts of the project results are very broad. 1. Fresh starting point for the scientific discipline The existing studies on the topic will be surveyed, critically evaluated and summarized in a form of a review article. We recognized this need during conducting this project proposal, as the research work on the topic is very much spread-out and general conclusions such as globally applicable dose-response functions are very hard to find. We will give the researchers with different backgrounds working on the same topic a fresh starting point, which will facilitate performing complementary research and contribute to the development of the scientific field substantially. 2. Breakthrough in the understanding of interactions between the PM and the surface The particular knowledge gained through material surface investigation will allow us to propose the main modes of damaging action outdoor objects are exposed to because of organic PM pollution. This is far beyond the state-of-the-art knowledge and will foster considerable advancement in both the field of atmospheric and heritage science. 3. A cue for new material development/lead optimization A step forward in the understanding of interactions between the deposited PM and the material surface will provide important information for the development of new, better-performing protective materials. On the other hand, the new knowledge will foster our ongoing research to develop smart PM-capturing materials, i.e., the materials with the ability to clean the air of the most harmful pollutant to our health. 4. Turning point for the young scientific discipline in the Slovenian territory Financing of the proposed project will enable the project leader to strengthen atmospheric chemistry research in Slovenia and promote it worldwide. Despite her relatively short career, her attitude and independent work in the field of aerosol chemistry have already attracted attention; she is the corresponding author of several publications in the leading journals and in 2016 she took over the chairing of the Atmospheric Aerosol Studies working group of the European Aerosol Assembly, which has the responsibility of a permanent scientific committee of the European Aerosol Conference. However, because of the limited financing, currently this young scientist cannot perform and grow faster. Considering that the field of atmospheric research does not have a well-established tradition at the national level, her reputation in the community is superb and very important for the national recognition. The project leader is a very ambitious, independent, promising candidate to establish her own world-leading atmospheric chemistry group, which would position Slovenia among the main actors involved in the global and exceedingly important topics of air pollution and climate change.
Significance for the country
The proposed multidisciplinary project combines two globally important topics – atmospheric research and cultural heritage protection. Therefrom the expected impacts of the project results are very broad. 1. Fresh starting point for the scientific discipline The existing studies on the topic will be surveyed, critically evaluated and summarized in a form of a review article. We recognized this need during conducting this project proposal, as the research work on the topic is very much spread-out and general conclusions such as globally applicable dose-response functions are very hard to find. We will give the researchers with different backgrounds working on the same topic a fresh starting point, which will facilitate performing complementary research and contribute to the development of the scientific field substantially. 2. Breakthrough in the understanding of interactions between the PM and the surface The particular knowledge gained through material surface investigation will allow us to propose the main modes of damaging action outdoor objects are exposed to because of organic PM pollution. This is far beyond the state-of-the-art knowledge and will foster considerable advancement in both the field of atmospheric and heritage science. 3. A cue for new material development/lead optimization A step forward in the understanding of interactions between the deposited PM and the material surface will provide important information for the development of new, better-performing protective materials. On the other hand, the new knowledge will foster our ongoing research to develop smart PM-capturing materials, i.e., the materials with the ability to clean the air of the most harmful pollutant to our health. 4. Turning point for the young scientific discipline in the Slovenian territory Financing of the proposed project will enable the project leader to strengthen atmospheric chemistry research in Slovenia and promote it worldwide. Despite her relatively short career, her attitude and independent work in the field of aerosol chemistry have already attracted attention; she is the corresponding author of several publications in the leading journals and in 2016 she took over the chairing of the Atmospheric Aerosol Studies working group of the European Aerosol Assembly, which has the responsibility of a permanent scientific committee of the European Aerosol Conference. However, because of the limited financing, currently this young scientist cannot perform and grow faster. Considering that the field of atmospheric research does not have a well-established tradition at the national level, her reputation in the community is superb and very important for the national recognition. The project leader is a very ambitious, independent, promising candidate to establish her own world-leading atmospheric chemistry group, which would position Slovenia among the main actors involved in the global and exceedingly important topics of air pollution and climate change.
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