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Proceedings Paper

Laser cleaning experiences on sculptures’ materials: terracotta, plaster, wood, and wax
Author(s): Claudia Pelosi; D. Fodaro; Livia Sforzini; Angela Lo Monaco
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Paper Abstract

The focus of this paper is to show the work experiences with laser cleaning on sculptures made of terracotta, plaster, wood and wax. These materials exhibit peculiar features that often prevent the use of traditional cleaning procedures to remove the surface dirt, soot or carbonaceous deposits and other materials coming from environment or ancient conservative interventions. To overcome the difficulties in the cleaning of the above mentioned materials, laser technology was tested. The laser irradiation and cleaning tests were carried out with a Q-switched Nd:YAG system under the following conditions: wavelength 1064 nm and 532 nm; energy 4-28 mJ; pulse duration 10 ns; spot diameter 2-8 mm; frequency 5 Hz. The irradiated surfaces were analyzed before and after the laser tests, with the aid of a video microscope and a reflectance spectrophotometer, in order to evaluate the morphology and colour changes of the surfaces. Before starting with the cleaning intervention, some diagnostic analysis was performed on the sculptures in order to obtain the identification of the original materials and of the surface deposits. Concerning this, Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and internal micro stratigraphic analysis were performed. This research demonstrated that the laser cleaning is an effective method to remove the surface deposits preserving the original patina of the sculptures and the opacity of the wax. The results gathered in this work encourage to continue the research in order to better understand the interactions between the laser beam and the surfaces and to find the most appropriate laser conditions to clean the sculptures.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 November 2013
PDF: 21 pages
Proc. SPIE 9065, Fundamentals of Laser-Assisted Micro- and Nanotechnologies 2013, 90650X (28 November 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2052812
Show Author Affiliations
Claudia Pelosi, Univ. of Tuscia (Italy)
D. Fodaro, Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro (Italy)
Livia Sforzini, Livia Sforzini Restauro e Conservazione (Italy)
Angela Lo Monaco, Univ. of Tuscia (Italy)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9065:
Fundamentals of Laser-Assisted Micro- and Nanotechnologies 2013
Vadim P. Veiko; Tigran A. Vartanyan, Editor(s)

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