Glass and Metal Corrosion

A series of experiments have been carried out at ID21 to understand glass and metal corrosion in historical samples as well as in artificially aged samples. In the study of iron artefacts, µXANES of Cl and Fe was used to assess the degradation state of the objects, as well as the efficiency of dechlorination processes. In the study of corroded glasses, in the so-called “manganese-browning”, some experiments aimed at assessing efficiency and speed of standard conservation treatments.


S. Reguer, F. Kergourlay, E. Foy, D. Neff, D. Vantelon, M. Cotte, F. Mirambet and P. Dillmann, "XANES at the Cl K-edge as a relevant technique to reveal the iron archaeological artefact dechlorination treatments", Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, (2020).

Degradation state evaluation, corrosion diagnosis methods' reliability, and also the development and improvement of conservation strategies are dramatically important to preserve iron archaeological objects. In this way, dechlorination processes for iron artefacts are traditionally used in conservation workshops to stabilize objects retrieved from archaeological excavations. This paper aims at presenting unpublished results but also to give an overview of the last 10 years study of stabilization processes using synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Cl K-edge as a key approach: first to decipher the corrosion patterns involving Cl ions on iron artefacts, and second to understand, mostly by in situ observation, the dechlorination processes. Wrought iron bars found on Gallo-Roman shipwrecks were studied. The difference in reactivity involved in the corrosion processes make it essential to distinguish and locate the phases in the heterogeneous corrosion layers. XANES at the Cl K-edge is a relevant technique to determine the Cl chemical form, distribution and its role in each phase's stability. Chloride ions may be trapped inside the structure of iron oxyhydroxide as akaganeite β-FeO1−x(OH)1+xClx and β- or γ-ferrous hydroxychlorides β-Fe2(OH)3Cl. Some Cl may also be adsorbed at the surface of the grains of the various phases present, i.e. not only the previsouly cited Cl-containing phases but also other oxyhydroxydes as lepidocrocite and goethite as shown by the XANES spectra.

Glass corrosion 3.JPG

G. Nuyts, S. Cagno, S. Bugani and K. Janssens, "Micro-XANES study on Mn browning: use of quantitative valence state maps", Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 30, 642-650 (2015).

Historical glass, especially non-durable medieval glass, can undergo corrosion. This sometimes results in the formation of dark-coloured manganese-rich inclusions that reduce the transparency of the glass. While unaltered bulk glass contains manganese mainly present in the +II valence state, inside the inclusions Mn is present in higher valence states (+III to +IV). Two different strategies may be considered by conservators when aiming to improve the transparency. One is based on the reduction of highly oxidised black/brown compounds using mildly reducing solutions, while the other focuses more on the extraction of manganese from the inclusions by the application of chelating agents. In this paper, a method for quantitative mapping of the Mn speciation inside partially corroded historical windowpanes based on X-Ray Absorption Near-Edge Structure (XANES) spectroscopy is discussed. The calibration of such Mn valence state maps based on the combo method, a fairly reliable way to determine the oxidation state, is described in more detail. This method is used to evaluate the effect of reducing treatments on historical glass, dated to the 14th century and originating from Sidney Sussex College (Cambridge, UK), suffering from Mn browning. Glasses were examined by means of Synchrotron Radiation (SR) based microscopic X-Ray Absorption Near-Edge Structure (μXANES) spectroscopy and microscopic X-Ray Fluorescence (μXRF). X-Ray elemental distribution maps of glass cross-sections are recorded at different energies, while Mn K-edge spectra are used to convert these into Mn valence state (VS) maps. Such valence state maps will allow evaluation of a reducing treatment.

Glass corrosion 1.JPG

G. Nuyts, S. Cagno, K. Hellemans, G. Veronesi, M. Cotte and K. Janssens, "Study of the Early Stages of Mn Intrusion in Corroded Glass by Means of Combined SR FTIR/μXRF Imaging and XANES Spectroscopy", Procedia Chemistry, 8, 239-247 (2013).

Historical glass, especially medieval glass, can undergo weathering under the influence of time and environmental conditions. The aim of this investigation was to better understand the processes involved in this natural degradation process by studying artificially altered glass samples prepared for the use of evaluation of conservation methods. Non-durable glass sensors produced by the Fraunhöfer Institute (type M1.0) were used as a starting material for artificial alteration. These were immersed in acidic (pH = 0, 2, 4) and neutral solutions (1 h - 8 h). In a second stage the glass samples were immersed in a 0.5 M MnCl2 solution (24 h, 48 h and 72 h), allowing intrusion of Mn from the solution into the gel layer. The samples were characterized at different stages with reflectance FTIR spectroscopy, μXRF mapping and μXANES. All measurements were carried out at ESRF, beamline ID21. Reflectance FTIR spectroscopy measurements were performed in the 800 4000 cm-1 range. Cluster analysis of the resulting maps evidenced the rapid growth of the gel layer in strong acidic conditions. The average spectra for each cluster feature show for the original glass a strong Si-O− stretching band between 900 and 1000 cm-1, whereas the gel layer could be identified by the increasing Si-O-Si bands around 1100 and 1250 cm-1. μXRF maps were recorded at different stages of the experiment at energies around the Mn-K edge (6.539 keV) and with a step size of 2 by 2 μ m. These confirm the leaching of K+ and Ca+2 from the glass and the intrusion of Mn from the solution. Mn was found throughout the entire gel layer, but with a concentration gradient peaking at the surface. XANES point measurements were recorded at various points where Mn was present. No spatial variation was found, but linear combination fitting of the spectra with various Mn reference compounds indicated that Mn2+Mn3+2 Ois the main Mn compound in the gel layer, as was hypothesised by Watkinson et al. The standard corroded glass samples studied here can be used for the evaluation of conservation treatments in follow-up experiments.

Glass corrosion 2.JPG

S. Cagno, G. Nuyts, S. Bugani, K. De Vis, O. Schalm, J. Caen, L. Helfen, M. Cotte, P. Reischig and K. Janssens, "Evaluation of manganese-bodies removal in historical stained glass windows via SR-µ-XANES/XRF and SR-µ-CT", Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 26, 2442-2451 (2011).

The speed and effectiveness of a conservation treatment used for stained glass windows have been investigated. Dark-coloured Mn-rich stains can be found in the alteration layer of ancient glass artefacts and cause the surface to turn brown/black: this phenomenon is known as Mn-browning or Mn-staining. While in glass manganese is present in the +II or +III oxidation states, in the Mn-rich bodies, manganese is in a higher oxidation state (+IV). In restoration practice, mildly reducing solutions are employed to eliminate the dark colour and restore the clear appearance of the glass. In this paper the effectiveness and side effects of the use of hydroxylamine hydrochloride for this purpose are assessed. Archaeological fragments of stained glass windows, dated to the 14th century and originating from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (UK), were examined by means of synchrotron radiation (SR) based microscopic X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Spectroscopy (μ-XANES) and microscopic X-Ray Fluorescence (μ-XRF) and with high resolution computed absorption tomography (μ-CT) before, during and after the treatment. The monitoring of the glass fragments during the treatment allows us to better understand the manner in which the process unfolds and its kinetics. The results obtained reveal that the hydroxylamine hydrochloride treatment is effective, but also that it has a number of unwanted side effects. These findings are useful for optimizing the time and other modalities of the Mn-reducing treatment as well as minimizing its unwanted results.