SEAHA Centre for Doctoral Training


Antanas Melinis

PhD student, University College London

Project Title 

Conditions for the safe storage of early glass

Background & Summary of Project

The project is centred on the investigation of fragile glass artefacts in the English Heritage collections with the perspective of providing more advanced guidelines for the sustainable preservation of vitreous materials in heritage institutions.

Most pre-modern glass actively absorbs water from the environment while losing its structural alkaline components in a parallel leaching process, which weakens the main silica network. Therefore, excessive fluctuations in the relative humidity (RH) of the surroundings as well as rapid drying can be detrimental to the structural integrity and aesthetic value of the objects. The goal of this research is to find the optimal storage conditions for glass through the identification of its most vulnerable types and chemical compositions, their industrial reproduction, artificial corrosion in high- humidity conditions, and eventual acoustic emission-aided identification of the minimal RH that would halt both crizzling and further hydration.