We are developing an on-site electrochemical monitoring method for early detection of coating failure. In this project we have partnered with the Seattle Art Museum and are able to use their Olympic Sculpture Park as a field-test site. Coatings are commonly applied on artwork as protective barriers against deterioration or corrosion. For outdoor artwork, coatings are reapplied periodically as they degrade from the effects of pollutants, salts, light and moisture. Collections care personnel rely on the presence of visual cues (e.g. chalking, flaking and corrosion) to determine when coating reapplication is needed. These cues are signs of coating failure and damage to the underlying artwork has already occurred. A need exists for analytical methods to support preventive care, using tools that permit the rapid, on-site evaluation of protective coatings.
Click on the video below to watch our field work.