Prof David Watkinson
Project: AHRC/CDA in partnership with Historic Scotland and the Tank Museum Quantifying corrosion of historical wrought iron and steel to develop predictive preservation methods and strategies
Tank at the Tank Museum (copyright: Tank Museum)
This AHRC/CDA studentship project begins in October 2012. It will quantitatively determine corrosion rates of wrought iron and modern steels then assess the performance of selected protective coatings on their surfaces within a range of controlled environments. The data will be contextualized for heritage by examining how it can be used in evidence based management of ferrous metal heritage. Project partners are Historic Scotland and The Tank Museum, who will take an active part in the research, trial its outcomes and offer strong communication routes for dissemination to the sector.
This 3-year £365,000 interdisciplinary project was awarded to Cardiff University and is funded by the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Large Grants programme . David Watkinson is the Principal Investigator. It began in 2010 and it will define and measure the variables which influence the corrosion rate of archaeological and historic iron artefacts using real archaeological objects. Further to this it will develop methods of measuring the corrosive potential of storage and display environments. The project is a partnership between the Cardiff University Department of Archaeology and Conservation and the University of Manchester School of Materials .
Corrosion, cracking and lamination of archaeological iron hinge fragment.
Cardiff University Department of Archaeology and Conservation carried out scientific research that underpinned the preservation of Brunel’s 1843 iron steamship ss Great Britain (Link to new project page on ss Great Britain.). The ship is a major visitor attraction in Bristol receiving 170,000 visitors in 2010 compared to 70,000 p.a. before its conservation. The preservation process is highly visible and involves desiccating the ship to stop it corroding, consequently it forms an integral part of the visitor experience. There is a feeling that Brunel would be proud of the cutting edge science and technology preserving his ship, as it sits well with his reputation as an innovator. The project has received £44,000 in funding. Collaboration and research with ss Great Britain trust continues to date.
The desiccated space beneath the dock roof and the ship sitting in the dry dock in which it was originally constructed
This £24,000 one year project is funded by Historic Scotland who are collaborating with Cardiff University to examine differing ways of removing paint from historic wrought iron, such as railings and canopies, in preparation for repainting. The goal is to begin to construct an evidence based platform for the conservation of historic wrought iron, leading to best practice guidelines for maintenance procedures.
Coating failure on cast iron (Picture Historic Scotland)