Cambridge 7th to 9th September
article posted 10 Mar 2015
Dr eng. Elzbieta Greiner-Wronowa:
I graduated the AGH - Technical University of Science and Technology, Faculty
of Materials Science and Ceramics, Department of Glass Technology and
Since 1990 I have been employed at the same department.
I earned my PhD in the field of chemical technology in 1999.
The main my professional interest is focused on identification of glass and glassmetal
object corrosion processes. Testing deterioration has been based on some
chosen methods, typical for materials science. Moreover the glass sensor method
- patented by myself - has been found as a very useful non-destructive testing,
especially appreciate in the case of analyzing historical objects.
The results obtained are very helpful to the conservators and curators to estimate the
most suitable sustainable conservation parameters.
I work as a scientist in charge of student programs and supervising masters and
Moreover I cooperate with many museums and superviser foreign students, who
visit our university according to Erasmus Programme.
I am a member of the following organizations:
AIHV, ICOM - CC, European Society of Glass, American Ceramic Society,
Member of TC17, TC19 of International Commission of Glass.
I completed the post-graduate study of mineralogy and petrography of ceramic
raw materials, Pedagogical study, three month scholarship at Materials science -
Glass division at the Alfred University in Alfred N.Y. USA.
Alteration of Historic Glass - Metal Objects
caused by Volatile Organic Compounds in Museum Environments
AGH - Technical University of Science and Technology,
Ave. Mickiewicz 30, Kraków, POLAND
Glass corrosion has been discovered to be a very complicated process, consisting of
many stages. There are factors which have a strong influence on glass object
deterioration. They may cause variations in the glass, as well as its chemical
composition and surrounding physical-chemical parameters. A particular potential
danger for historical glass objects exposed in museums is the emission of carboxylic
acid, formic acid, acetic acid, and other compounds, such as aldehyde [1, 2, 3].
Emission of carboxylic acids from wooden museum furniture and some varieties of
paints is currently a very serious problem for conservators, and a challenge for
scientists. It had been discovered several years ago as a "mysterious fogginess", or
white deposit on exposed historical glass in museums. The problem of the volatility of
organic compounds in museum showcases has been neglected for years.
Accumulated organic compounds on glass with an unstable composition have often
caused visible changes.
All of them have differentiated corrosion activity on the object. The problem is even
more complicated in the case of glass connected with metal. Actually, such
combinations have been to known for ages - copper corrosion, due to organic acid
vapour is a problem recognized since 1934. When it was began some experiments .
Moreover, physical parameters like relative humidity and temperature gradients in
museum cupboards are responsible for creating glass object deterioration.
To investigate the corrosion phenomenon and to find solutions to preserve these
objects, experiments with induced corrosions were performed. They focused on
testing the structure and morphology changes of corroded glasses due to differentiated
organic media activity on the glass [3, 5]. Mainly, induced corrosions via the glass
sensor method were carried out with the following media: acetic, formic acid, and
Experiments were carried out with different parameters, including situations
comparable with the original settings. We carried out these tests on the sensor of
enamel jointed with copper plate. They were prepared at the AGH-Technical
University of Science and Technology in Kraków. Sensors were prepared in two
categories: clean (without any altering process), and deteriorated (mainly in water at
The data obtained allowed us to find the best solution for conservation activity
(especially sustainable conservation).
After the experiments, samples were tested by: SEM, EDS, RS, Optical
interferometer, ICP-MS, and SIMS.
1. Greiner-Wronowa E., and Thicket D., 2012. Study of enamel degradation
on copper relief, ed. ICOM-CC Enamel Group of the glass &ceramics and
metals working groups, 4-th Biennial Experts' Meeting on Enamel on
metal conservation. Barcelona, Museu D'Historia de Catalunya, pp. 91-96
2. Szala B. and Greiner-Wrona E., 2014. Influence of environment on the
corrosion of glass-metal connection. Applied Physics, 116: 1627-1635
3. Greiner-Wronowa E., 2011. Influence of organic pollutants on
deterioration of antique glass structure. Acta Physica Polonica A, 120:
4. Cano E., Torres C.L., and Bastidas J.M., 2011. An XPS study of copper
corrosion originated by formic acid vapour at 40% and 80% relative
humidity. Materials and Corrosion (Weinhein) 52: 667-676
5. Szala B. and Greiner-Wrona E., 2013. Analysis of cross-sectional layers of
corrosion using metallographic microscope. Geology, Geophysic &
Environment (Kraków) 39: 125-132