Spectrometric investigation of the weathering process affecting historical glasses of León Cathedral, Spain

M. A. Castro, F. J. Pereira, A. J. Aller, D. Littlejohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atmospheric pollution plays important roles in the weathering of the historical buildings and glass windows. Samples of white powdered weathering products, recovered during restoration of the stained-glass windows of León Cathedral in Spain, were characterised using a combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive-X ray spectrometry (ED-XRS), Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and Raman spectrometry. The presence of sulphates, and to a lesser extent carbonates, in the white powdered product is clear indication of the participation of atmospheric acidifying gases, particularly SOx, in the weathering process. It is interesting to note that there was no indication of the participation of NOx gases. There was, however, evidence that the putty and mortar used to seal/join the glasses were major sources of the weathering products. In this way, this study suggests sealants more resistant to oxidation, such as silicone- and zirconia-based materials, should be considered for repairing glass windows in historic buildings to avoid exacerbating degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume98
Early online date8 Aug 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • FT-IR
  • historical glasses
  • raman spectrometry
  • SEM/ED-XRS
  • weathering

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