Development of innovative analytical methodologies, mainly focused on X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, to characterise building materials and their degradation processes based on the study performed in the historical building Punta Begoña Galleries (Getxo, Basque Country, Spain)
García Florentino, Cristina
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The characterisation and preservation of Cultural Heritage is of great importance in order to understand and preserve human evolution and history. Mortars are usually the main material employed in the construction of buildings belonging to Cultural Heritage. These building materials are multi-layered complex systems, often characterised by an inhomogeneous structure with a composition varying surprisingly depending on their geographical location and time period. The characterisation of the original composition and the definition of the degradation reactions of mortars can give assistance to restorers and can lead to propose new ways for future conservation (e.g. preventive conservation). In this PhD. Thesis, new Analytical Methodologies have been developed for the characterisation of mortars and the diagnosis of pathologies present on them, trying to encompass some of the most important facts present in the current evolution of the science dedicated to Cultural Heritage. Portable devices based on elemental and molecular spectroscopic techniques have been demonstrated as powerful tools to extract reliable conclusions without extracting any sample, which is of high importance when dealing with objects belonging to Cultural Heritage. On the one hand, different new easy and cost-effective natural and artificial passive samplers useful for the characterisation of the increasing atmospheric Particulate Matter in the current atmosphere are proposed in order to study the effect of its deposition over the building materials. On the other hand, the advantages of the increasing in situ non-destructive analytical techniques are also shown as well as the development of new X-ray fluorescence based quantification methodologies as an easy, cost effective and Green Analytical Chemistry option to other more traditionally employed techniques for the characterisation of building materials and their degradation products. At the time of starting the project of this PhD. Thesis, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU and the City Council of Getxo (Basque Country, Spain) signed an agreement to recover a highly degraded historical building, the Punta Begoña Galleries. The proposed methodologies have been developed based on the materials from this building and the degradation processes that are suffering.