Much of the art made since the 1940s contains plastics, posing a conservation challenge that a group of experts are addressing with the Nanorestart project.
Faced with rapidly degrading plastic-based modern artworks, conservators have joined forces with materials scientists, technology companies, museums and universities to set up Nanorestart. The project’s goal is to create new methods of art conservation using advanced restoration methods and nanotechnology to clean, stabilize and preserve paintings.
The chemical properties of newer paints are so different to those of classical oil-based works that traditional conservation methods do not work. Nanotechnology is allowing conservators to get inside the compounds of the materials, cleaning from the inside and hopefully, finding ways to halt and prevent any further degradation of the materials. Largely funded by the European Union, the project will run until 2018. In the closing stages of the project, work will focus on sharing knowledge and methods and developing materials for widespread industrial use.
Another place we’ve seen nanotechnology used is in clothing, such as these odor-absorbing underclothes and wearable cooling unit. In what other industries could nanotechnology replace traditional materials and methods?