Tangible heritage is essential to our societies as it offers them values of stability and consensus. Its conservation is, therefore, crucial. Metal is a material that is widely represented in archaeological, historical, artistic and technical collections. Any conservation intervention on it, due to the forms of corrosion developed, must be preceded by an in-depth diagnosis of the material in question, which requires costly analytical techniques, rarely accessible to the professionals concerned. As a result, the diagnoses carried out are often not sufficiently backed up scientifically, which leads to erroneous assessments of the alteration observed.
The ENDLESS Metal project aims to provide conservation professionals with portable, low-cost, minimally invasive, easy-to-use and easily accessible analytical tools, which can be used individually or in combination, and which allow them to judiciously and efficiently collect all the information necessary for a rapid and accurate diagnosis:
– DiscoveryMat, an application for the analysis of metal and alloy compositions, enabling the professionals/institutions to refine their expertise regarding the objects they are responsible for and thus to preserve them more effectively;
– MiCorr, an application for identifying the family of the metals studied and understanding the corrosion structures present on the metals and essential for establishing appropriate conservation strategies;
– Pleco, an instrument for identifying corrosion products formed on the surface of metals and furthermore, allowing their transformation (by reduction) to stabilise or clean metal surfaces.
These three tools provide qualitative results that are considered to be largely sufficient in the vast majority of cases to which conservation professionals are exposed. Their great originality is that they are participatory and work by comparison with databases enriched by users in a process of pooling and sharing, specific to the open data strategy being developed. They thus give access to in-depth characterisation of materials close to those studied, provided that the databases cover a broad spectrum of materials usually encountered in heritage collections.
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