International Symposium

Stone Consolidation in Cultural Heritage -

research and practice



Consolidation is one of the most complex and controversial actions in stone conservation. Different lithologies and distinct void/ microstructural relationships show different behaviours towards consolidation. The frequent presence of soluble salts also induces variability and complexity in the consolidation process.
Effectiveness is not within reach for all stone types and harmful effects are too often found. Research is currently being carried out around the world and new products and new knowledge are being produced for the benefit of conservation practice. This Symposium will focus on the present state of the art and state of the practice as regards consolidation mechanisms, degradation of consolidated stones, novel products for consolidation and long term monitoring of consolidation interventions on monuments aiming at discussing both research and practical issues.

Concept and themes:

The Symposium will include invited lectures and paper or poster presentations by symposium attendants. Lectures will be followed by discussion. The lecturers are international experts in the field, coming from well-known institutions in Europe and the United States.

The major topics of consolidation (basic research on products, lab and field testing, effectiveness, application, harmfulness, durability and long term behaviour) will be addressed from different points of view. The Symposium will conclude with a panel session that will provide an opportunity of interaction between experts and audience. Contributions from practicing conservators will be an essential dialogue of the Symposium and therefore they are more than welcome.

The Symposium will deal with the following main themes:

  • Basic principles in stone consolidation ;
  • Consolidation products: research and practice;
  • Inorganic consolidants ;
  • Consolidation of very porous limestones;
  • Consolidation in the presence of salts;
  • Durability and long term harmful behaviour;
  • Application techniques;
  • Parameters, technology and methods for performance assessment;
  • Are there successful past treatments?
  • Novel products and experimental setups;
  • From the laboratory to the site: the practitioners view;
  • Case-studies;
  • Any other relevant issues.

Papers may discuss any topic on stone consolidation, research data, or report successful and unsuccessful case-studies. The organizers welcome all innovative contributions and offer the following suggestions for papers to help authors to prepare their contributions:

  • Basic principles of stone consolidation. From the macroscopic to the molecular level. Chemical and physical compatibility. Demonstration of cohesion enhancement.
  • Properties of consolidated stones. How to prepare and test consolidated specimens. Quarry samples, natural and artificial aged specimens.
  • Advantages and limitations of onsite trials. Successful and unsuccessful case-studies.
  • Novel and "updated" consolidants. Current perspectives in alkoxisilanes.
  • Inorganic consolidants. How deep can they penetrate? How effective are they? Can conversion coatings protect against acid attack?
  • Novel or updated lab testing of consolidated stone.
  • Long term stability of stone consolidants. "Delayed harm behaviour" as a durability parameter.
  • Performance assessment of stone consolidation. Identification of relevant parameters. Assessment criteria. Testing techniques.
  • Consolidation of very porous decayed limestones. Is it a lost fight?
  • Consolidation of clay-rich stones. How may pre-treatments help.
  • Scientifically documented past treatments. How shall past treatments be characterised? What lessons can be learnt from them?
  • Concept and scientific perspectives on re-consolidation.
  • Practical issues of stone consolidation. What do practitioners consider as shortcomings in stone consolidation? And as needs?
  • How to integrate stone consolidation in practical masonry conservation.
  • From small to large scale consolidation. Glue or surface consolidant?
  • Scientists in the real practice. What are their roles?

Due to their affinity, the Symposium will accept papers on ceramics, mortars and other porous materials, provided that consolidation is the core subject of the paper.

Language: The Symposium language is English, both for written contributions and for oral presentations. No simultaneous translation will be available.

Participation: The Symposium is open to everyone. The theme is of particular interest to researchers and practitioners in the field of conservation. A certificate of attendance will be granted.

Call for papers: Papers are welcome. Some will be selected for oral presentation and the remaining may be presented as posters. Both will be included in the Symposium Proceedings. Abstracts of maximum 300 words shall be submitted by January 31, 2008 by e-mail to The full text of contributions must be sent to the same e-mail address by March 15, 2008. Responses regarding contributions will be sent after peer judging and reviewing by the Scientific Committee. Papers up to 10 pages in their final form must arrive ready for printing, in electronic format (Word files) by April 15, 2008. .

Exhibition space: Space for promotional exhibits is available in the conference hall or in the nearby exterior area. For costs and other conditions, please see this page or contact: DrŠ Teresa Fonseca: ; tel. +351 21 844 37 29 fax: +351 21 844 30.

Organisation: The Symposium is organised by LNEC- Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (National Laboratory for Civil Engineering)- as a networking activity of the project EU-ARTECH: "Access Research and Technology for the Conservation of the European Cultural Heritage".