Historical glass alteration under threatening environmental conditions

The mechanisms of glass degradation in atmosphere is not as well known as the glass degradation in liquid phase, which is a subject that has been widely studied for decades. The understanding of the mechanisms involved is fundamental for the conservation of glassworks within Cultural Heritage.

The problem of glass deterioration is documented from at least the 16th century, and it "(...) covers a wide range of phenomena but all deterioration, whether the extreme corrosion observed in long buried archaeological glass or the first subtle dulling of the surface of recent glass, involves attack of the glass surface by water in either liquid or vapor form. However, the nature and rate of the deterioration are determined by multiple factors which can be hard to unravel (...)" [1].

[1] Katherine Eremin, Glass deterioration: What do we know and how do we measure it? In: Gerhard Eggert and Andrea Fischer (Eds.) Session I: Glass Deterioration & Conservation, Glass Deterioration, Colloquium – Extended Abstracts State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart Feb. 20th & 21st, 2015.