Polymers in Conservation


The aim of Polymers in Conservation is to prepare the student to a critical evaluation of the importance of Polymers in Conservation, and their evolution in time, i.e., their ageing. Polymers are used as protective materials, consolidants, and as the materials from which the work of Art is made of. The student should become familiar with the literature produced in different fields of research, ranging form material science, polymer chemistry and technical art history; and aware of its importance and constant growing. The theoretical lessons may be divided in two main sections: Part 1 and Part 2, by Susana França de Sá and Maria João Melo, respectively. The first part, deals with the fundamental aspects of the chemical and physical behaviour of polymeric materials and its characterization. In the second part, the fundamental aspects of polymer degradation, stability and conservation are discussed. Also, the requirements a material must fulfil to be used in conservation and restoration of cultural heritage are set and analysed.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Joana Lia Antunes Ferreira, Maria João Seixas de Melo


Weekly - 6

Total - 126

Teaching language



It has no application´s condition.


F. W. BILLMEYER Jr., Textbook of Polymer Science

J. BRANDRUP, E. H. IMMERGUT, Polymer Handbook                                                                                                              

Polymers in Conservartion, ed N. S. Allen, M. Edge, C. V. Horie

C. V. HORIE, Materials for Conservation: organic consolidants, adhesives and coatings

B. VALEUR, M. N. BERBERAN-SANTOS, Molecular fluorescence: principles and applications

J. F. RABEK, Polymer Photodegradation: mechanisms and experimental methods

J. LEMAIRE, J. GARDETTE, J. LACOSTE, P. DELPRAT, D. VAILLANT, Mechanisms of photooxidation of polyolefins: prediction of lifetime in wheathering condition

Correlating natural ageing and xenon irradiation of Paraloid® B72, Polym. Degrad. Stab.

PVAc paints in works of art: a photochemical approach. Part 1, Polym. Degrad. Stab.

M. A. FOX, J. K. WHITESELL, Organic Chemistry

G. A. van der DOELEN, Molecular studies of fresh and aged triterpenoid varnishes

Teaching method

During the semester the course is organized in circa 14 lessons of 1h30, 13 sessions of 3h in the laboratory, following a previously distributed protocol, and 1 lesson, 2h, of IR spectra interpretation. In average a student should dedicate 56h working time for study and 60h for the reports.

Note: with ERASMUS students or other foreign students, in the laboratory, English may be used in the discussions and in the written evaluation.

Evaluation method

The final grade (NF) is given by 60% of the theoretical part (NT) and 40% of the practical part (NP):

NT = 0,4T1 + 0,1AP1 + 0,3T2 + 0,2AP2. Alternatively, the theoretical-practical assessment is done by exam.

NP = 0,45QFot  + 0,35QEmul + 0,20QCol 

(The grade for each component will be rounded to the nearest tenth)

1) A minimum score of 9.5 for each of the evaluation components (theoretical-practical and laboratory) is required for approval.

2) Access to the exam to all students registered in the UC.

3) The frequency is valid for 5 years.

4) When carrying out any evaluation, students must also take into account the n.3 of 10th article of the Evaluation Rules of FCT NOVA, “When fraud or plagiarism is proven in any of the evaluation elements of a UC, students directly involved are outright disapproved (…). ”

5) Omissions will be resolved by the head of the UC.

For more details see "Avaliação PC 2022" available in others.

Subject matter

Refer to ''''Documentação de apoio''''.


Programs where the course is taught: