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Preservation of York Minster historic limestone by hydrophobic surface coatings

Walker, Rachel Ann, Wilson, Karen, Lee, Adam Fraser, Woodford, Julia Jane, Grassian, Vicki H., Baltrusaitis, Jonas, Rubasinghege, Gayan, Cibin, Giannantonio and Dent, Andrew 2012. Preservation of York Minster historic limestone by hydrophobic surface coatings. Scientific Reports 2 , 880. 10.1038/srep00880

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Magnesian limestone is a key construction component of many historic buildings that is under constant attack from environmental pollutants notably by oxides of sulfur via acid rain, particulate matter sulfate and gaseous SO2 emissions. Hydrophobic surface coatings offer a potential route to protect existing stonework in cultural heritage sites, however, many available coatings act by blocking the stone microstructure, preventing it from ‘breathing’ and promoting mould growth and salt efflorescence. Here we report on a conformal surface modification method using self-assembled monolayers of naturally sourced free fatty acids combined with sub-monolayer fluorinated alkyl silanes to generate hydrophobic (HP) and super hydrophobic (SHP) coatings on calcite. We demonstrate the efficacy of these HP and SHP surface coatings for increasing limestone resistance to sulfation, and thus retarding gypsum formation under SO2/H2O and model acid rain environments. SHP treatment of 19th century stone from York Minster suppresses sulfuric acid permeation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Materials chemistry; Surface chemistry; Surface patterning; Environmental chemistry
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2045-2322
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2018 20:54

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