Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science

Research on consolidating adhesives for flaking and fragile paint layers of cultural objects

Adhesives have been used in the conservation of cultural objects for many centuries. They are used to re-adhere fragments or to consolidate flaking or fragile materials. Indeed many paintings, sculptures and other cultural objects would not have survived if it were not for the ability to conserve them using a variety of adhesives. Natural products have been, and still are, used extensively, but they degrade over time, and their properties are not always ideal for the purpose at hand. Synthetic and semi-synthetic products were introduced in the 20th century, although hardly any of them were developed specifically for the conservation of cultural heritage, nor tested fort his purpose. These have problems of their own and have unknown aging properties. This project investigates the chemical and physical aging properties of adhesives currently used and will develop improved dedicated types by sourcing and combining materials and formulation, based on the needed properties. The research challenge is to understand and predict the viability, initial performance and the long-term degradation of the developed adhesives by testing the adhesives on mock-ups and by constructing aging prediction models on both mechanical and optical changes.

Poulis - Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Microscopic detail of cracks in red gouache (Kazimir Malevich, Man with Sack, 1910, h.88 x. w.71 cm, gouache on paper, Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam).

Project acronym


Principal Investigator

  • Dr. J.A. Poulis (Delft University of Technology)

Co-Principal Investigator

  • Prof. dr. E.R. de la Rie (University of Amsterdam)

Research team

  • Dr. L. Beerkens (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg)
  • Prof. dr. K.J. van den Berg (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands)
  • Drs. C. Berndes (Van Abbe Museum)
  • S. Bretz
  • Drs. M. Chavannes (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam)
  • Prof. dr. O. Chiantore (Università di Torino)
  • Ir. D. Cimino (Università di Torino)
  • I. Garachon MA (Rijksmuseum)
  • Ing. T. Gorter (Permacol B.V.)
  • Drs. C. van Hees (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen)
  • Drs. R. Hoppenbrouwers (Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg)
  • Dr. K. Keune (Rijksmuseum, University of Amsterdam)
  • Ir. S. Kraaijkamp (Permacol B.V.)
  • Drs. L. Kreijn (Kröller-Müller Museum)
  • Dr. P. Laurenson (Tate Museum)
  • C. McGlinchey (Museum of Modern Art NY)
  • Drs. P. Noble (Rijksmuseum)
  • Dr. R. Ploeger (State University of New York)
  • T. Rietveld (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam)
  • F. Segers
  • L. Vos (Rijksmuseum)
  • Drs. S. Weerdenburg (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam)
  • Dr. B. Wei (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands)
  • Dr. L. Wijnberg (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam)

Participating institutions

  • Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Kröller-Müller Museum
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Museum of Modern Art NY
  • Permacol B.V.
  • Rijksmuseum
  • State University of New York
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg
  • Tate Museum
  • Università di Torino
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Van Abbe Museum

Want to know more?

Please click here for project updates and background information.

Published by  NICAS

6 April 2017