Eva Mariasole Angelin


Research Summary

Plastics have become part of our cultural heritage and are widespread in art collections, museums and art galleries. Their conservation represents a challenge and discolouration dramatically affects the appearance of plastic artefacts. Besides polymer degradation and surface effects, colour change can be ascribed to the alteration of colourants added in the plastic formulation. To support decision making on conservation, this research is aimed at studying the degradation of synthetic organic colourants of 3D plastic artefacts. The research will be carried out by using a multi-analytical approach to determine suitable analytical protocols for colourant characterization. This research includes the documentation of discolouration in museum collections, the historical reconstruction of colouring technology for plastics, the selection of case studies from museum collections and the performance of aging experiments to propose degradation mechanisms. The data will support the definition of new guidelines for the preventive conservation of plastic artefacts, including exhibition and storage.

PhD Project title: The fate of colours in the 20th-21st centuries: preserving the organic colourants in plastic artefacts.

Supervisors: Maria João Melo (LAQV-Requimte, DCR FCT-UNL, Portugal), Marcello Picollo (IFAC-CNR, Italy), Austin Nevin (IFN-CNR, Italy)