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Nanotechnology at the service of historical restoration

CDMF Material designed in São Carlos is tested on Spanish church façadeCDMF

Nanostructured materials based on calcium and barium have performed well in the restoration of stonework on the main façade of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, in the town of Corral de Almaguer, Toledo Province, Spain. At the macroscopic level, characteristics of the façade like color and texture were preserved true to those of the original building, erected in the late fifteenth century. The new restoration material was developed by an international collaboration between Brazilian researchers at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), who are part of the Functional Materials Development Center (CDMF), and their Spanish counterparts at the Jaume I University and the Valencian Institute for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (IVC+R). According to chemist Thales Rafael Machado, who participated in the project as a doctoral candidate, because nanoparticles are cheap to make and composed of elements not harmful to human health and the environment, they may eventually be used on a large scale in the conservation of cultural and historical heritage, providing an alternative to today’s commercial products, which are generally not designed specifically for restoration purposes. To create the compound tested on the church, the CDMF applied its experience in ceramics, where rigid control, precision, and durability are required to produce materials.