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Materials Research Areas

Materials research is currently focussed around the chemical, physico-chemical and biological processes affecting the sustainability of our cultural heritage in a changing environment.

The Historic and Ancient Materials Research Group (HAMR) is an interdisciplinary team comprising researchers from the Schools of Chemistry, Life Sciences, Pharmacy, Engineering, Computer Science and Art and Design. Our diverse group furthers knowledge of properties influencing the structure and function of materials from macroscopic to microscopic levels, and the impact of influencing external factors.

The group is involved in a number of European projects, and collaborates with a wide variety of organisations and professionals from the heritage sector, including The National Museum of Wales, Institute of Materials Science, NCSR Demokritos (Athens), The National Gallery of Athens, The British Library, Trinity House, English Heritage, The Natural History Museum, Tate Britain and The National Trust.

Our current research interests include:

  • Fluorescence signalling in historic herbaria 
  • Optimising the environment for large-scale storage
  • Reactivity of natural pozzolans in conservation mortars
  • Optimising desalination of large ensembles of archaeological ceramics.

Contact: Professor Belinda Colston