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Materials and Techniques

New materials are constantly being proposed for conservation treatments, and while most “miracle cures” can be quickly dismissed, there are many intractable problems for historic buildings (such as the flaking and powdering of building stone and plaster) which can be difficult to deal with using conventional means.

Historic England’s Building Conservation and Research Team commissions research to test promising new materials, or new methods for handling familiar materials.

Conservation materials research
If the original materials cannot be found for repairs, considerable research may be required to find a suitable alternative over the long term. At the Grade II-listed Kingstone Store in Leicester, designed by Raymond McGrath for Sir Charles Keene in 1937, the original pink Vitrolite paneling was repaired with fiberglass; this has changed colour with exposure. © Michael Taylor

Projects

Nanolimes: testing the claims made for ‘nanolime’,  a stone consolidant made with very fine particles of lime (as little as one-thousandth the size of hydrated lime particles), suspended in alcohol rather than water.

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