Institute of Archaeology


Tong Tong

Assessment on the treatment methodology and performance efficiency of nanolime as a consolidant in the conservation of wall paintings extreme weather conditions


Email: tong.tong.17@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Heritage Studies



Assessment on the treatment methodology and performance efficiency of nanolime as a consolidant in the conservation of wall paintings extreme weather conditions

Nanolime, a form of Calcium hydroxide particles in nanoscale, is studied as a consolidation material for wall paintings undergoing deterioration caused by extreme environmental conditions, including rapid temperature and relative humidity fluctuations, and soluble salts issues. The nanolime (calcium hydroxide) particles reacts with carbon dioxide and water present in the atmosphere and undergoes the process of carbonation, forming calcite (calcium carbonate) crystals within the original wall plaster matrix. This crystal formation process generates new bonds and bridges between loose parts in the plaster layer, and adheres detached paint layer back to the surface of the wall painting.

Based on its chemical compatibility with lime-based plaster wall paintings and resilience against environmental weathering, nanolime is tested for the purpose of finding a safe and effective solution to these complex conservation issues. Despite its introduction into cultural heritage preservation, there are few research publications discussing the practicality of using nanolime for wall paintings located in regions where these extreme environmental conditions significantly accelerate the deterioration process.

Therefore, this research project investigates the practical treatment methodology and evaluates the performance of nanolime used for consolidating wall paintings under these specific environmental conditions. As the first stage of the project a set of laboratory simulations and analysis are conducted to optimize the treatment strategies and to determine the treatment effectiveness in an artificial aging environment. The second stage is proposed to include in-situ field testing on the mud-lime plaster wall paintings at a cultural heritage site in Shanxi, China to further investigate the performance of nanolime under real-life environmental weathering.


  • BS, Chemistry, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2012
  • MA, Cultural Material Conservation, The University of Melbourne, 2015

    'Analysis on the composition/ structure and lacquering techniques of the coffin of Emperor Qianlong excavated from the Eastern Imperial Tombs', Scientific Reports 2017, vol. 7, p. 8446

    'Red lead degradation: monitoring of color change over time', New J. Chem. 2016, vol. 40, pp. 3686

    'Investigation into the deterioration process of archaeological bamboo strips of China from four different periods by chemical and anatomical analysis', Polymer Degradation and Stability 2014, vol. 109, pp. 71-78

    'Study of the degradation mechanism of Chinese historic silk (Bombyx mori) for the purpose of conservation', Polymer Degradation and Stability 2013, vol. 98, pp. 727-735

    'A novel method for the fabrication of homogeneous hydroxyapatite/collagen nanocomposite and nanocomposite scaffold with hierarchical porosity', Journal of Material Science: Material Medicine 2011, vol. 22, pp. 299-305

    Conference papers

    'Case study of Regalrez 1126 used as an adhesive and consolidant in the conservation of an 18th century Chinese amber cup at The Metropolitan Museum of Art', American Institute for Conservation 45th Annual Meeting 2017, Chicago.