Glass Reflections
Cambridge 7th to 9th September

Presenting Author:

article posted 10 Mar 2015


Dr eng. Elzbieta Greiner-Wronowa:
I graduated the AGH - Technical University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, Department of Glass Technology and Amorphous Coatings.

Since 1990 I have been employed at the same department. I earned my PhD in the field of chemical technology in 1999.

The main my professional interest is focused on identification of glass and glassmetal object corrosion processes. Testing deterioration has been based on some chosen methods, typical for materials science. Moreover the glass sensor method - patented by myself - has been found as a very useful non-destructive testing, especially appreciate in the case of analyzing historical objects. The results obtained are very helpful to the conservators and curators to estimate the most suitable sustainable conservation parameters.

I work as a scientist in charge of student programs and supervising masters and engineers theses. Moreover I cooperate with many museums and superviser foreign students, who visit our university according to Erasmus Programme. I am a member of the following organizations: AIHV, ICOM - CC, European Society of Glass, American Ceramic Society, Member of TC17, TC19 of International Commission of Glass.

I completed the post-graduate study of mineralogy and petrography of ceramic raw materials, Pedagogical study, three month scholarship at Materials science - Glass division at the Alfred University in Alfred N.Y. USA.

Alteration of Historic Glass - Metal Objects
caused by Volatile Organic Compounds in Museum Environments
AGH - Technical University of Science and Technology, Ave. Mickiewicz 30, Kraków, POLAND

Glass corrosion has been discovered to be a very complicated process, consisting of many stages. There are factors which have a strong influence on glass object deterioration. They may cause variations in the glass, as well as its chemical composition and surrounding physical-chemical parameters. A particular potential danger for historical glass objects exposed in museums is the emission of carboxylic acid, formic acid, acetic acid, and other compounds, such as aldehyde [1, 2, 3]. Emission of carboxylic acids from wooden museum furniture and some varieties of paints is currently a very serious problem for conservators, and a challenge for scientists. It had been discovered several years ago as a "mysterious fogginess", or white deposit on exposed historical glass in museums. The problem of the volatility of organic compounds in museum showcases has been neglected for years. Accumulated organic compounds on glass with an unstable composition have often caused visible changes.

All of them have differentiated corrosion activity on the object. The problem is even more complicated in the case of glass connected with metal. Actually, such combinations have been to known for ages - copper corrosion, due to organic acid vapour is a problem recognized since 1934. When it was began some experiments [4]. Moreover, physical parameters like relative humidity and temperature gradients in museum cupboards are responsible for creating glass object deterioration. To investigate the corrosion phenomenon and to find solutions to preserve these objects, experiments with induced corrosions were performed. They focused on testing the structure and morphology changes of corroded glasses due to differentiated organic media activity on the glass [3, 5]. Mainly, induced corrosions via the glass sensor method were carried out with the following media: acetic, formic acid, and formaldehyde.

Experiments were carried out with different parameters, including situations comparable with the original settings. We carried out these tests on the sensor of enamel jointed with copper plate. They were prepared at the AGH-Technical University of Science and Technology in Kraków. Sensors were prepared in two categories: clean (without any altering process), and deteriorated (mainly in water at severe conditions).

The data obtained allowed us to find the best solution for conservation activity (especially sustainable conservation). After the experiments, samples were tested by: SEM, EDS, RS, Optical interferometer, ICP-MS, and SIMS.


1. Greiner-Wronowa E., and Thicket D., 2012. Study of enamel degradation on copper relief, ed. ICOM-CC Enamel Group of the glass &ceramics and metals working groups, 4-th Biennial Experts' Meeting on Enamel on metal conservation. Barcelona, Museu D'Historia de Catalunya, pp. 91-96

2. Szala B. and Greiner-Wrona E., 2014. Influence of environment on the corrosion of glass-metal connection. Applied Physics, 116: 1627-1635

3. Greiner-Wronowa E., 2011. Influence of organic pollutants on deterioration of antique glass structure. Acta Physica Polonica A, 120: 803-811

4. Cano E., Torres C.L., and Bastidas J.M., 2011. An XPS study of copper corrosion originated by formic acid vapour at 40% and 80% relative humidity. Materials and Corrosion (Weinhein) 52: 667-676

5. Szala B. and Greiner-Wrona E., 2013. Analysis of cross-sectional layers of corrosion using metallographic microscope. Geology, Geophysic & Environment (Kraków) 39: 125-132