Innovative materials for conservation of Cultural Heritage

Faculty of Engineering Science

Enrico Sassoni, Ph.D. in Materials Engineering, is Assistant Professor with tenure track at the DICAM department of the University of Bologna (Italy). Since 2017 he holds the Italian national qualification as Associate Professor in “Materials Science and Technology”. In 2015 he was awarded a 3-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship funded by the European Commission (“HAP4MARBLE” project, 244’000 €), thanks to which he worked for 18 months at Princeton University (USA) and 6 months at the University of Göttingen (Germany). He has authored and co-authored +80 scientific publications, including +50 journal articles (+1000 citations in Scopus and h-index=20). His research activity mainly covers innovative materials and techniques for conservation of Cultural Heritage. For development and characterization of new materials, the DICAM laboratories are fully equipped with FEG-SEM, XRD, FT-IR, MIP, ion chromatography, equipment for mechanical testing and accelerated ageing (climatic chamber with UV light, spray fog cabinet, device for simulated rain). The research activity is carried out by Dr. Sassoni in collaboration with international research groups (University of Goettingen, ETH-Zurich, LRMH-Paris, IIT-Madras), other groups at the University of Bologna (Departments of Cultural Heritage, Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry, Industrial Engineering), as well as public bodies and private companies working in the field of Cultural Heritage conservation.

1) Innovative consolidants and protectives for conservation of stone in Cultural Heritage
Development of innovative biomimetic consolidants and protectives based on formation of hydroxyapatite for conservation of historic building materials (stones and mortars), having enhanced effectiveness, compatibility and durability with respect to available commercial products. Multi-functionalization of the hydroxyapatite-coatings to achieve functionalities such as self-cleaning ability, anti-fouling ability, etc. Improvement of silicate consolidants based on ethyl silicate.

2) Innovative techniques for evaluating the structural safety of historic masonries
Study and improvement of the adhesion between masonry and fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) used for existing building rehabilitation. Development of novel moderately-destructive methods for determination of masonry mechanical properties.

3) Sustainable materials for the building sector
Development of novel alkali-activated materials from waste precursors (e.g. brick powder) for rehabilitation of existing masonry buildings. Development of novel sustainable composite materials, based on renewable vegetable fibers, for the building sector.

4) Decay mechanisms of historic building materials and predictive models
Study of stone and mortar decay in real historic buildings, in collaboration with Authorities in charge of their conservation.