Conservation and Restoration of Metals


Promotion of the practice of conservation and restoration treatments (e.g. cleaning, stabilization and chromatic reintegration) in metal based Heritage objects, built on a discussion of the ethical principles of the profession in relation to specific case studies, as well as the importance of documenting methodologies.
It is intended to develop in the student the ability to evaluate:

  • the conservation condition of a cultural object - differences between deterioration and damage; creation and completion of evaluation grids for metal degradation problems; signs of active corrosion;
  • the direct and indirect cause(s) of physical degradation of a metal object;
  • the consequences of past interventions on the metallic object and its initial objectives;
  • aims and risks associated with the intervention proposed;

to select and justify:

  • the materials and procedures to be used in the intervention based on acquired knowledge - discussion between objectives and intervention limits in each case;

and autonomy:

  • practice of a conservation and restoration treatment in a test or heritage object.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Elin Maria Soares de Figueiredo, Joana Lia Antunes Ferreira


Weekly - 6

Total - 89

Teaching language





  • ‘Fundamentos de Diagnóstico e Conservação em Metais’, textos elaborados por Rui Silva, 2016.
  • ‘The elements of Archaelogical Conservation’ J. M. Cronyn, Ed. Routledge, 1990.
  • ‘Corrosion and Conservation of Cultural Heritage metallic artefacts’, AAVV, Woodhead Publishing in Materials, 2013.
  • Copper and Bronze in Art: Corrosion, Colorants, Conservation, Scott, D.,  Getty Conservation Institute, 2002
  • Technical bulletins do CCI, CCI Notes, 9/1 a 9/7
  • ‘Conservation Treatment Methodology’, Appelbaum, B., New York, 2007
  • Publicações diversas em Actas de encontros ou revistas científicas da especialidade

Teaching method

The theoretical program of this curricular unit is presented in an expositive form of the subjects using projected images and/or analysis and discussion of references; the theoretical-practical program includes discussion of proposals for intervention in the light of the problems, objectives and risks of operations, taking into account the ethical directives of the profession; the practical program includes supplementary training exercises for intervention methodologies on sacrificial objects prior to application to cultural objects.

Evaluation method

  • The evaluation is obtained through 1 written test or exam (25%), by being assisting at labs (hands-on 20%), presenting reports (35%) and a final oral presentation (20%).
  • The students with a grade in the test, equal or superior to 9.5 (ranking of 20) have exemption from final exam.
  • The final classification will be a weighted 25% of TP and 75% of P. For final approval at the UC each component has to be graded at least 9.5 in a ranking of 20.
  • This UC has frequency. The student can go for final exam if not absent in more than 2/3 of the P.

Subject matter

The student will perform the material and technological analysis of his case study, including the evaluation of the original surface and previous interventions. The student will be given the basic knowledge of intervention, including: mechanical and chemical cleaning; physical stabilization - mechanical joints, welds, polymeric consolidators; chemical stabilization - salt extraction, chemical reduction, chemical cleaning, complexation of contaminants; protective agents - sacrificial anodes and types of polymer coatings. The decision-making tools will be promoted on the realization of intervention proposals against the specific objectives and risks inherent in the operations. The capacity for practical application of intervention methodologies and preventive conservation measures will be promoted. In detail:

  • Understanding ethical principles of conservation and restoration;
  • Understanding the relevance of documentation in the conservator-restorer professional practice;
  • Condition assessment of metal objects: material and technological analysis, evaluation of degradation problems, original surface and previous interventions;
  • Basic concepts of intervention applied to the metal heritage: cleaning; chemical stabilization - salt extraction, chemical reduction, solvation (chemical cleaning), physical stabilization - mechanical joints, welds, polymeric consolidators, filling methodologies; complexation of contaminants; protection agents - indirect and direct - sacrificial anodes and types of polymer coatings;
  • Methodologies of decision-making;
  • Definition and production of intervention proposal;
  • Practical application of intervention methodologies to the metal heritage;
  • Application of recommendations of preventive conservation measures to the metal based heritage: environmental conditions for storage and exhibition; preparation of packaging for transport.