Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE BLH4010

 
TITLE Science and Materials Science for Conservation

 
LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 20

 
DEPARTMENT Conservation and Built Heritage

 
DESCRIPTION This study-unit will consist of lectures, tutorials as well as online (VLE) learning.

This study-unit deals with the basic concepts and fundamental topics in science and materials science, which are essential background knowledge for a non-scientist to understand conservation and conservation science issues, as well as materials that require conservation (e.g. stone and pigments) and those used for conservation (e.g. resins and polymers).

The study-unit introduces and develops the scientific method together with the basics of scientific knowledge and understanding by addressing relevant topics in inorganic and organic chemistry, physics and microbiology, as well as materials science.

The topics will be taken from those areas of chemistry, biology, physics and materials science which have particular relevance to the field of conservation, including atomic and molecular structure, composition and properties of materials.

Special attention will be given to areas of particular interest to the field of conservation, including pigments, organic binders, polymers, organic dyes, pollution, salts. The basics of instrumental analysis will also be given.

The VLE component will be complementary to the above.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to provide the scientific underpinning for an understanding of conservation and conservation science, as well as materials science, with an emphasis on chemistry, biology, physics and materials, as applied to conservation. The Study Unit will be illustrated with practical examples from conservation and conservation science.

The fundamentals leading to an understanding of the composition and properties, as well as the deterioration and conservation, of various materials which require conservation, and those materials (polymers and resins) which are used in the conservation of these materials, their interactions and aging as well as their reapplication, will also be discussed.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Explain how basic principles and concepts in chemistry, physics and biology relate to conservation theory and practice;
- Demonstrate a working knowledge of scientific method and its use to solve conservation related problems;
- Describe and explain the relationship between material structure, composition, characteristics and behaviour;
- Explain how different materials (polymers, resins etc), their properties, behaviour and degradation affect their use in conservation.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Carry out simple laboratory tests to solve conservation-related problems, taking care of health and safety considerations;
- Predict the behaviour of materials depending on their characteristics;
- Write laboratory reports using proper scientific nomenclature and methods including data collection and documentation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Suggested main textbooks:
Ashley-Smith, J. Scientific Editor, and Wilks, H. Series Editor. 1992. Science for Conservators Vol. 1: An Introduction to Materials, The Conservation Unit of the Museums and Galleries Commission in conjunction with Routledge, London and New York.

Ashley-Smith, J. Scientific Editor, and Wilks, H. Series Editor. 1992. Science for Conservators Vol. 2: Cleaning, The Conservation Unit of the Museums and Galleries Commission in conjunction with Routledge, London and New York.

Ashley-Smith, J. Scientific Editor, and tWilks, H. Series Editor. 1992. Science for Conservators, Vol. 3: Adhesives and Coatings, The Conservation Unit of the Museums and Galleries Commission in conjunction with Routledge, London and New York.

Horie V. Materials for Conservation - Organic consolidants, adhesives and coatings 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2010.

Mills J. and White R. The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects 1994. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Mitchell R. and Macnamara C.J. Cultural Heritage Microbiology. 2010. American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Press.

General reading:
Atkins P.W. The Periodic Kingdom. BasicBooks. 1995.

Callister W.D. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction 8th edition. Wiley, 2010.

Cotterill R. The Material World. 2008. Cambridge University Press.

Emsley J. 1998. Molecules at an Exhibition. Oxford University Press.

Lister T, and Renshaw J. Conservation Chemistry - An Introduction. 2004. Royal Society of Chemistry.

May E., Jones M., Barker B.D., Wyeth P., Pule M. Conservation Science: Heritage Materials, RSC Publishing, 2006.

Padfield T. Conservation Physics. www.conservationphysics.org (Online).

Torraca G. Solubility and Solvents for Conservation Problems. 2005. ICCROM.

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Blended Learning

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 50%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 50%

 
LECTURER/S John Charles Betts
Julian Bonello
Teresa Fiorini
Reuben Grima
Aaron Micallef
Stephanie Sammut
Daniel Vella

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

https://www.um.edu.mt/course/studyunit