Université de Strasbourg

Fellows seminar - Innovative foam-based cleaning concepts for historical objects

September 17, 2020
From 15:30 until 17:00
Salle Amériques, MISHA

Cleaning historical objects with foam

– Aqueous foams in contact with non-aqueous compounds –

By Cosima Stubenrauch, 2018 Fellow

The historical surfaces of artistic and cultural objects can be regarded as the ‘faces’ of these pieces of art. The surfaces are often soiled as a result of either wear and tear or long-term exposure to environmental influences.

Their cleaning represents important challenges as each surface requires a tailor-made cleaning method to remove dirt without damaging the art piece. Recent research shows that foamed detergents can clean far more efficiently than non-foamed ones. Not only do they reduce the amount of detergents by up to 90%, but they also generate additional physical cleaning mechanisms which await to be understood and exploited. In particular, the processes acting at the contact zone between the aqueous foam and the non-aqueous “dirt” must be clarified.

In a collaboration with the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes, the University of Cologne, the Charles Sadron Institute in Strasbourg and the University of Stuttgart, Cosima Stubenrauch works on understanding the different mechanisms involved in foam-based cleaning, and exploiting this understanding to develop innovative cleaning methods. She will present their current understanding of, and progress on, the subject, including the surprising observation that unstable foams clean better than stable foams: Less is More!!!

France 2030