UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

Miss Louise Garner

Miss Louise Garner

PhD Student

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2021

Research summary

Degradation of cellulose-derived fibres relative to their structural properties under abiotic conditions.

Recently, there has been renewed interest in regenerated cellulose fibres despite their use as textiles since the early 1900s. It is expected that regenerated cellulose fibres will play a key role in replacing synthetic fibres in the textile industry. Equally, these fibres are being increasingly found in heritage collections from the early adoption of semi-synthetic fibres in the early 1900s and now due to the move toward more sustainable textiles. While cellulose remains the core chemical composition of these fibres they are distinguished by their structural properties. However, the impact of their structural differences on their respective degradation has yet to be fully understood. The aim of this project is to investigate the degradation of cellulose-derived fibres to understand how their structure impacts their degradation under abiotic conditions, namely light, temperature and moisture. This work will adopt a dual focus across two different spheres of research. Firstly, textile waste management investigates the degradation of cellulosic fibres when disposed into the environment at the end of their life.  Secondly, the project will look at the preservation of these fibres from a heritage context by understanding which environmental conditions are most damaging for cellulosic textiles; this will help guide long-term preservation strategies offering clarity on the lifetime of these fibres in collections. This project will also provide a novel insight into how multidisciplinary research can be utilised to further knowledge in two spheres of research, by using the past to help preserve the future.

Primary supervisor: Dr Katherine Curran (ISH)

Subsidiary supervisor: Dr Teresa Aparisi Domenech (ISR)

Funded by the EPSRC.

Teaching summary

PGTA on BEN0124 Introduction to Heritage Science 

PGTA on BEN0127 Heritage Materials and Assemblies


  • MSc in Advance Material Science (UCL) (2019-2020)
  • BA History of Art with Material Studies (UCL) (2016-2019)