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How to model the risk of damage for canvas paintings?

Today we will tell you more about a three-dimensional model of a canvas painting, which we are working on in the GRIEG project. In order for the computer model to correctly predict the impact of climate fluctuations on the condition of the object, it is crucial to know the properties of the materials from which the object is built. In the case of a canvas painting, the orthotropic (direction-dependent) material properties of the canvas, measured by our group, are particularly important (see:

The model consists of several elements reflecting the complexity of the real object: a glued canvas stretched on a wooden frame and covered with a ground, the so-called gesso.

What results have we obtained from the simulation so far? As a result of a decrease in relative humidity, stresses appear in the model and they exceed the critical value in the painting’s corners. The type of these stresses (tensile stresses) and their direction would cause the real object to develop cracks perpendicular to the diagonal of the canvas – observed in so many paintings stored and displayed in museums.

We already have a plan for the next stages of the simulation. What will change when we add a paint layer to the model? Look for answers in the next posts!

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