The Conservation Course Syllabus Pages

Course Consolidation of Porous Materials: Physics and Optics
Date offered TBA
Location TBA
Instructor Stefan Michalski
Institution Canadian Conservation Institute

Course Outline


This seminar will provide new models and explanations for the ways in which consolidants penetrate materials such as powdery paint, cracked paintings, paper, leather, stone, ceramics, etc., and why things go wrong, especially darkening and poor penetration.


The mechanism of consolidant penetration will be described in detail. Capillarity will be modelled in a more subtle manner than a simple wet/dry front. The concept of a wide transition region will be used to explain many practical observations and problems, such as reverse migration of the consolidant, and the advantages of slow treatments with vapours. Chromatographic separation will be explained, and the role of solvent volatility and resin molecular weight clarified. Finally, the relationship among consolidant concentration, strength improvement, and artifact discoloration will be seen as a complex balance of benefits versus side effects, with different materials giving rise to very different points of balance.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be able to:

Target Audience

Practicing conservators who want to learn a new, comprehensive explanation for consolidation as a physical process

Attendance Flexible
Duration 2 days
Instructor(s) Stefan Michalski

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