Naturwissenschaften und Technologie in der Kunst; Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien; Schillerplatz 3; 1010 Wien
Research > Projects > Material Analysis Print

Material Analysis


Non-destructive Analysis

For the identification of the material composition of artworks primarily so-called non-destructive or non-invasive techniques play an important role. These are techniques where no sample material has to be taken from the object, leading to no changes of the artwork itself. These methods are based on energy dispersive x-ray analysis induced by photons (e.g. XRF or SR-XRF), electrons (SEM/EDX) or protons (PIXE).
XRF (x-ray fluorescence analysis) has been widely used in our institute and transportable instruments were designed and built by ourselves in order to carry out the analyses in museums, libraries or even at excavation sites, in order to avoid transportation of an object to the lab.


Identification of Natural Organic Materials

The identification of organic constituents in objects of art and archaeology is based on compound specific methods. In our institute techniques such as infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), or gas chromatography (GC) in combination with mass spectrometry (MS) are used.


Material Analysis for Contemporary Art

In order to identify and characterize synthetic and modern painting materials widely used in contemporary art, analysis of these materials by pyrolysis gas chromatography in combination with mass spectrometry (Py/GCMS) and supplemented with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy-attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) methods are mainly carried out.

Historical Pigments  

Historical Pigments

A database of inorganic pigments was compiled, which is based on a collection of historic (19th century) and modern (20th century) pigments present in our institute. The chemical und structural properties of the pigments were determined and used for their classification. The database will be a useful tool for scientists as well as conservators, art historians and archaeologists.