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Sustainable technologies for the artwork conservation based on cellulose and lignin nanomaterials

Abstract

This research proposal aims to produce stable non-aqueous dispersions based on cellulose and lignin nanoparticles that are able to generate protective coatings on cellulosic substrates covered with a water-based pictorial layer. Atoxic and removable protective coatings are essential for prolonging the life span of artwork, such as paintings and books, without endangering the health of the workers involved. In previous work of this research group, aqueous dispersions of cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibers along with lignin nanoparticles were developed and generated transparent and continuous removable coatings that were resistant to hydrothermal ageing and UV radiation. However, the use of this technology in cellulosic substrates with a water-based pictorial layer might induce aesthetic and morphological changes that are in conflict with the purpose of preserving the immaterial value of the artwork. One alternative to overcome this limitation is the development of analogous non-aqueous dispersions. The main challenge of this proposal is to ensure the nanocellulose dispersibility in organic media. To do so, we intend to use the solvent exchange technique to substitute, totally or partially, the aqueous media for an atoxic non-aqueous media, such as isopropyl alcohol or tetrahydrofuran, without affecting the stability of the nanocellulose and nanolignin dispersion or the protective properties of the resulting coating. The surface modification of the nanocellulose, by means of acetylation or silanization reactions will also be used to ensure the redispersibility of the nanocellulose. Redispersion is essential to the coating substitution during artwork restoration. The fundamental and applied study of these non-aqueous nanocellulose dispersions is in line with the objectives of the Thematic Project to which this proposal is associated. (AU)

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