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UO1 UniPi - Colombini Maria Perla
University of Pisa
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry (WebSite)
Group of Analytical Chemistry for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage (WebSite)


Permanent staff
Maria Perla Colombini (coordinator), Francesca Modugno, Ilaria Bonaduce, Erika Ribechini, Ilaria Degano, Celia Duce, Alessia Andreotti, Flora Silvano (Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche del Mondo Antico), Gianna Giachi (Laboratorio di Restauro della Sovrintendenza ai Beni Archeologici della Toscana), Giuseppe Brancato (SNS), David Macchia

Graduated students and non permanent staff

Anna Lluveras (post doc), Jeannette Lucejko (post doc), Jacopo La Nasa (PhD student), Annalaura Restivo (PhD student), Diego Tamburini (PhD student),
Elisa Ghelardi (PhD student), Francesca Di Girolamo (PhD student),
Angelini (PhD student), Licosa (PhD student)


Research activity
The research activity of UniPi unit will be aimed to answer some open questions in the field of analytical chemistry applied to cultural heritage, mainly regarding the degradation processes undergone by some organic materials constituting objects of historic and artistic value. Natural ageing under the effect of the environment and of the interactions between the various components of the matrix will be investigated. This objective will be pursued through the development, implementation and application of integrated micro-destructive analytical methods. We will consider systems as paintings and wooden objects, also treated with consolidants or protective restoration materials. It is essential understanding the mechanisms and reactions occurring or occurred in these systems in order to outline a model that allows the evaluation of the chemical and physical stability.

Our contribution to the project will be aimed to the following objectives:

1) Fundamental research to implement the state of the art in the knowledge of the interactions between:
- environment and binder/binder, binder/pigment, binder/binder/pigment systems in paintings.
- environment and consolidant / protective / support systems.

2) Develop and validate analytical procedures, and in particular:
- techniques based on analytical pyrolysis coupled with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry for the characterization of both natural and synthetic polymeric organic materials;
- procedures based on HPLC-ESI-MS for the characterization of both natural and synthetic polymeric organic materials through the study of their secondary structure;
- calorimetric techniques (differential scanning calorimetry, DSC) Thermal analysis (TGA thermo gravimetry coupled with IR for evolved gas analysis, EGA) for the characterization of the process of thermal degradation and thermooxidative of pure substances and of pigment-substrate systems, of energy interaction between pigment and substrate, and to study the changes induced by ageing.

3) Apply the developed analytical procedures to characterize historical and archaeological artifacts under study in order to:
- obtain a thorough understanding of their conservation state, and evaluate the mechanisms of degradation occurred or in progress;


Available Instrumentation
Gas chromatograph Agilent GC System 6890N coupled with mass spectrometry detector Agilent MS 5973-Network and an on line pyroliser (pyroprobe 5000)
Gas chromatograph Agilent GC System 6890N coupled with mass spectrometry detector Agilent MS 5975-Network
HPLC-ESI-Q-ToF: an HPLC 1200 Infinity (Agilent Technologies, Palo Alto, CA, USA) coupled to a Jet Stream ESI-Q-ToF (6530 Infinity, Agilent Technologies) detector.
Gas chromatograph Thermoquest Trace GC equipped with PTV injector and ion trap, and a direct exposure probe for DE-MS
High sensitivity TGA Q5000IR Thermobalance (TA-instruments) coupled to Cary 640 (Agilent Technologies) FT-IR Spectrophotometer, for the gas evolved analysis.


Prof Maria Perla Colombini



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