Further understanding of degradation mechanisms of glass and ceramic, both outdoor and indoor, and developing new and sustainable products and methodologies to prevent further damage and/or loss our cultural heritage.

At VICARTE recent investigations have produced significant advances on the understanding of glass and glazed surfaces and their degradation. We will focus on

  • Degradation of glass-based materials in stained-glass (glasses, grisailles and enamels) resulting from their exposure to different atmospheres. Thermography will be used to study stained glass window degradation due to thermal variations.
  • Lichen biodeterioration on tiles, evaluating the influence of environmental conditions on its colonization, testing efficacy and safety of various cleaning methods, and developing conservation strategies for tiles exposed outdoors.
  • Glass alteration by atmospheric water, acid gases and particulates, of objects in indoor conditions, a well-known problem in museums.

VICARTE brings together people and resources enabling locally and international knowledge transfer that can impact museums and cultural institutions as well as the general public. Communication activities undertaken in this context seek to raise awareness on the part of public, economic and social agents of the importance of our Cultural Heritage.

  • In collaboration with Heritage Institutions, VICARTE was responsible for the conservation and restoration of glass objects from several National Museums and stained glass from Ajuda and Pena National Palaces.
  • Furthermore mitigation strategies based on in situ application of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on glazed tiles from Casa da Pesca, Quinta do Marquês de Pombal, showed that this treatment promotes a desirable detachment of the biofilm and there is evidence that it may have a preventive effect.
  • The tests performed with task-specific ionic liquids developed at VICARTE proved the effectiveness of the cleaning product in removing corrosion crusts of glass surfaces. Even when in direct contact with the ionic liquids for a long period of time, no alterations of these surfaces were detected.
  • Two PhD thesis developed in this framework were awarded the SOS Azulejo-Best Thesis in Conservation and Restoration Prize for improving conservation strategies.

For more information visit
Losing Transparency, Increasing Clarity