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Learning to Live With Soluble Salts
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Learning to Live with Soluble Salts 2018
Workshop in collaboration with University of Malta, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern
Switzerland (SUPSI), Fachhochschule Potsdam (FHP)  Malta, 5-9 February 2018



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Soluble salts are a very common problem faced in the conservation of monuments, leading to deterioration phenomena of the original materials. In most cases they can’t be completely removed. 

…So, let’s learn to live and deal with them!


The Department of Conservation and Built Heritage, University of Malta in collaboration with University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and Fachhochschule Potsdam (FHP) organised in February 2018 an international workshop focusing on the topic of soluble salts in monuments.

The workshop was open to Masters students in Conservation of the three universities and to Maltese professionals involved in conservation (conservators, conservation architects, material scientists). 
The programme included lectures, discussions, as well as visits on site, and interpretation of data regarding environmental monitoring and salt analyses of a case study, the Nymphaeum at the Argotti Botanical Gardens, Floriana, Malta. Teamwork was pursued to encourage the discussion and the cross-pollination of ideas among the different areas of expertise.
Visiting lecturers participated from a number of institutions: Prof Francesca Piqué from SUPSI, Switzerland, Prof Dr Steffen Laue from FHP, Germany and Dr Barbara Lubelli from Delft University of Technology, Holland.
The main topics of the Workshop included:
  • Moisture movement, salt ions transport and crystallisation
  • The relationship between salt crystallisation and the climate
  • Salt analyses and interpretation: possibilities and constraints
  • Use of ECOS/RUNSALT software
  • Passive approach and remedial interventions
During the week, the participants had the opportunity to visit some of the artistic beauty of Valletta, such as the stunning Grand Master’s Palace and St John’s Co-Cathedral, and the private Chapel of Palazzo de la Salle, currently conserved by the MSc students and staff of the Department of Conservation and Built Heritage.
The week was concluded with a well-deserved typical Maltese dinner!


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Dr Grima (UM) introducing to the participants Valletta and the Grand Harbour (DCBH 2018)

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Ms Porter (UM), Prof Piqué (SUPSI), Ms De Angelis (UM), Dr Pasian (UM) and Mr Frank Long discussing (DCBH 2018)

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Students and professionals working in groups during a lecture (DCBH 2018)

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Prof Dr (FHP) Laue helping University staff and professionals during a lecture (DCBH 2018)

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Students working in group and analysing data on site (DCBH 2018)

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Visit to the St John’s Co-Cathedral; Ms Cynthia de Giorgio and Ms Adriana Alescio (St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation) introducing the Crypt (DCBH 2018)


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Ms Porter (UM) introducing the Chapel of Palazzo de la Salle to the students (DCBH 2018)


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 Prof Piqué (SUPSI) and Prof Dr Laue (FHP) discussing on site (Nymphaeum at Argotti Botanical Garden, Floriana) (DCBH 2018)



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Last Updated: 14 March 2018

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