Cleaning for cultural preservation

Old, but clean

A lot of time and expense goes into the restoration of histo rically valuable cultural artifacts. The first step in the preser vation process generally involves the careful cleaning of the surfaces to be restored. Very old materials, and open questions regarding the mix of material and dirt, make it difficult to choose the appropriate cleaning technology. Decades of restoration  experience can compensate for this lack of information. An attempt at restoration that fails, however, is usually also the final attempt.

More recently, works of art that are less than 50 years old have become candidates for restoration. These works are made out of materials such as plastic, and no experience has been gained until now in how they can be restored. There is a growing need to develop techniques in this area, and it is here that the experience of the member institutes of Fraunhofer Cleaning can provide the requisite building blocks, through their work in the development of modern materials as well as their comprehensive analytical capabilities.

Clean and durable

In the past, cultural artifacts have often been restored and cleaned several times. Cleaning often led subsequently to an accelerated deterioration of the materials, caused by chemical changes to the surface, precipitated by the cleaning itself or by cleaning chemicals that could not be entirely removed. A unique combination of expertise in almost all methods of cleaning technology and surface analysis is further complimented by wide-ranging experience in the development and modification of materials, and in surface treatment, to provide excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary work on restoration issues.


Main areas of focus

• Analysis

• Blasting techniques

• Special methods