Project facts

Project coordinator: University of Amsterdam (UvA), Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS)
Project consortium: University of Amsterdam (UvA), Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS); Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven (NETHERLANDS); Università di Bologna, Bologna (ITALY); University of Pau and Pays de l'Adour, Pau (FRANCE).
Funding bodies: JPI CH
Subject areas: Archaeology, Built Heritage, Conservation, Materials, Methods - Procedures, Monuments - Sites, Museums, Objects, Paintings - Painted surfaces, Preventive conservation, Sculptures, Tangible Heritage, Technologies - Scientific processes, Threats
Budget: 761.800 €


One of the most common deterioration problems affecting cultural heritage worldwide is crystallization damage caused by an interplay between salts, environmental changes and material properties. Especially porous materials are susceptible to salt crystallization. It threatens artworks such as sculptures, ceramics, frescoes, paintings, archaeological objects and buildings in museums as well as outdoor environments. Most of these artworks are made of an assembly of layered materials with different physicochemical properties. Additional layers of materials are sometimes added as conservation measures. The properties of all materials involved and the interfaces between these materials affect the artwork's susceptibility to deterioration.

CRYSTINART aims at developing an integrated approach for modelling analysis of the decay of artworks due to salt crystallization in layered materials.

We will combine experimental, theoretical and numerical studies at the micro-scale to model the interaction between salt crystallization and mechanical response at the interface regions of layered materials.

We will translate this information to what happens on the macro-scale, and develop effective predictive and user-friendly tools that describe macroscopic material behaviour for a broad range of artefact types.

Impacts & Results

CRYSTINART will enable the prediction of damage scenarios for layered materials in artworks.

The project will also develop new conservation strategies based on these predictions, and make them internationally available.

Banner: "Moisturise Daily (Statue at Palladio's Teatro Olimpico), Vicenza" by flatworldsedge is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0.