Artificial patina formation onto copper-based alloys: Chloride and sulphate induced corrosion processes

Research paper by G. Di Carlo, C. Giuliani, C. Riccucci, M. Pascucci, E. Messina, G. Fierro, M. Lavorgna, G.M. Ingo

Indexed on: 11 Mar '17Published on: 11 Jan '17Published in: Applied Surface Science


Naturally grown patinas are typically detected onto the surface of modern copper-based artefacts and strictly affect their surface reactivity and appearance. The production of representative patinas is a key issues in order to obtain model systems which can be used for the development and validation of appropriate conservation materials and methods. In this study, we have prepared different artificial representative patinas by using a quaternary Cu-Sn-Zn-Pb alloy with chemical composition and metallurgical features similar to those of valuable modern works of art. In order to produce degradation products usually observed onto their surface, chloride and sulphate species were used to induce corrosion processes. Different patinas were produced by changing the nature of corrosive species and the set-up for the accelerated degradation. The composition and structural properties of the patinas were investigated by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The results allow to identify degradation products and to distinguish copper hydroxychloride polymorphs and copper hydroxysulphates with similar structure. Our findings show that patina composition can be tailored by modifying the degradation procedure and patinas representative of modern artefacts made of quaternary Cu-Sn-Zn-Pb alloy can be obtained.

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