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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


The course aims to provide students, also through a case study, the fundamentals of chemical, physical and mineralogical-petrographic analysis methods for the characterization of natural and artificial stone materials. Will also provide both the basics of instruments used for analysis and mineralogical-petrographical diagnostics, and the basic information of the in situ non-destructive techniques, utilised to better define the internal structure of masonries and other architectural artifacts. Finally we will discuss about products and materials (i.e. consolidants, adhesives and protectives) used in the conservation field, as well as monitoring systems of the alteration phenomena over time and the effectiveness of the treatments. Promotion of cultural heritage, including digital visualization techniques will also provided.


Preparatory courses already indicated in the degree course


Aims and methods of modern mineralogy. The Mineralogy in the field of Material Science. Definition of mineral and crystal, amorphous state and crystalline state (2 hours).
Morphological crystallography. The operators of symmetry. Crystalline systems and classes of symmetry (1 hour).
Crystalchemistry of minerals: chemical bonds and crystal structure. Isomorphism. Polymorphism (1 hour).
Physical properties of minerals: colour, hardness, density, etc. (1 hour).
Optical properties (1 hour).
Identification of a mineral from its physical properties (1 hour).
Systematic mineralogy, classification of minerals (2 hours)
Optical microscopy in transmitted and reflected light (4 hours).
Atomic physics and chemistry. Structural and elemental analysis. Principles of spectral analysis. Atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) and absorption (AAS), mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma source (ICP-MS), mass spectrometry with inductive plasma source sampler with laser ablation (LA-ICP-MS). X-ray diffraction X-ray spectrometry Electron microscopy (SEM-TEM), electronic microanalysis (EPMA). Elements of nuclear analytical techniques (IMMA-IBA, PIXE-PIGE-RBS) (13 hours).
Authentication and localization of the origin of materials (2 hours).
Practical exercises (11 hours).

Teaching Methods

The preparation of a final presentation by each student and concerning an specifically assigned case study is a crucial part of the teaching strategy of the course. The presentation (and the associated preparatory work) is designed to assess the understanding about the different aspects of investigation, treatment and analysis techniques for the chemical, minero-petrografical
The course consists of 40 hours, subdivided in:
Lectures 15 hours
Case study 15 hours
Lab activities 10 hours

Verification of learning

The exam will consist of an oral presentation (and, possibly, a written report) of the results inferred from the measurements acquired during the case study. The student work will be evaluated based on the quality/significance of the data analysis, quality of presentation, capacity to analyse and summarize the results.
In order to pass the exam (hence, to get a grade higher than 18/30), the student needs to show a sufficient understanding of the arguments . In particular, s/he will need to demonstrate to be able to decide when/where to use a specific diagnostic technique instead of another.
To get 30/30 cum laude (top-marks), the student must show a complete knowledge of al topics discussed during the course.


Jeremy P. Ingham 2011. Geomaterials under the microscope. Manson Publishing 126p.
-Winkler E.M. , 1994. Stones: properties, durability in Man’s environment. Springer-Verlag, Berlino, 313p.
-E. P. Bertin 1970.Principles and practice of X-Ray spectrometric analysis

More Information

The textbooks might be integrated by slides of the lectures, links to websites, material from other case studies.

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