Conservation of Georgian doors using new mortar mix

Postgraduate student Jessica Mantoan, has carried out a conservation treatment on the Art School’s Georgian doors as part of her MA Conservation and has been presenting the work she has done to fellow conservation students in their ‘social bubbles’.

As part of the treatment, she carried out scientific research to look at improving the durability of the mortar used around the doors and tested whether using a barium hydroxide additive in the mortar will increase the durability.

Her laboratory test results were extremely positive showing that mortars made using a small proportion of barium hydroxide are more resistant to acid rain decay and nucleation of sodium sulphate salts due to air pollution.

Following these encouraging results, Jessica tested the new barium hydroxide mortar outside the lab environment by applying it in situ in the Georgian doorcase where it is exposed to road traffic pollution from the busy main road where the Art School is located.

Although the initial results are positive, using a barium hydroxide additive in the mortar has never been tested before, so to get a thorough understanding of the durability of this mortar, a longer-term study is required. Jessica is recommending that future Conservation students draft conservation reports year after year to analyse how the barium hydroxide mortar of the doorcase deteriorates.



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