Axis 5: Pollution and its impact on buildings

Atmospheric environment (water, radiation, temperature…) and air pollution (SO2, CO2, NOx, and aerosols) are responsible for weathering processes of materials in both indoor and outdoor environment. These alterations affect particularly monuments and objects in museums.

Changes of the physicochemical properties at the surface and subsurface (of a few µm to mm) of materials, as well as surface deposits result in quasi-irreversible degradations. Fundamental research on alteration mechanisms and kinetics is necessary in order to predict their evolution and can be used to build strategies for pollution reduction and preservation of cultural heritage.

The objective of our studies is to understand and model the weathering processes (by using statistical and mechanistic models). This approach is based on in-situ measurements (on monuments), on field experiments, on simulations in the laboratory (including in an environmental chamber) and on the development and parameterization of models.

Current research fields concern :

- the quantification of the kinetics of soiling of uncoated or coated (self-cleaning glass) silica-soda-lime glass ;

- the assessment of the respective contribution of wet and dry deposition to the alteration of medieval stained glass windows ;

- the development of a simulation, chamber reproducing the impact of primary, secondary gaseous pollutants, and particulate matter devoted to the study of materials-environment interactions (CIME project)

- Mechanistic modeling of the alteration of materials such as stained glass and limestone.