Wood Science and Technology

, Volume 43, Issue 1–2, pp 167–180 | Cite as

A portable NMR sensor for moisture monitoring of wooden works of art, particularly of paintings on wood

  • L. Senni
  • C. Casieri
  • A. Bovino
  • M. C. Gaetani
  • F. De Luca


It is proposed the use of a mobile device based on a NMR single-sided sensor for in situ non-invasive determination of the moisture content (MC) of wood items, especially items of Cultural Heritage interest. The MC is obtained through the moisture volume fraction, which is an appropriate quantity for the sensor and corresponds to the fraction of its measurements sensitive volume occupied by water. The device has been used here to track changes in MC of wood specimens caused by changes over time of the environmental relative humidity. The kinetics of water adsorption has been related to results obtained with the gravimetric method. Measurements on an old painting, the Pietà (1516–1517), oil on a poplar wood panel by Sebastiano del Piombo (1485 Venice, 1547 Rome), Civic Museum, Viterbo, Italy, have shown, conclusively, the good sensitivity of the sensor and its capability to behave as a non-invasive and in situ utilizable device. Results of in situ painting measurements show that the NMR sensor can track moisture fluctuations that are outside the sensitivity range and precision of electro-hygrometric approach.


Moisture Content Sensitive Volume White Poplar Radio Frequency Coil Metal Point 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Acknowledgments are firstly due to the Museum Staff for the kind and active collaboration. Thanks are due to the University of Viterbo, in the person of M. Andaloro, for financial support. We are indebted with U. Santamaria who suggested the monitoring of Pietà. Special thanks are due to P. Fantazzini who supplied us with the UPEN algorithm. The authors acknowledge R.J.S. Brown for helpful discussions on part of the manuscript. All of us are indebted with Bruker BioSpin S.r.L., Milan, Italy, for assistance and updating of the NMR sensor.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Senni
    • 1
  • C. Casieri
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Bovino
    • 1
  • M. C. Gaetani
    • 4
  • F. De Luca
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FisicaUniversità “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Centro SOFT-INFM-CNRUniv. “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di FisicaUniversità di L’AquilaCoppito, L’AquilaItaly
  4. 4.Istituto Centrale per il RestauroRomeItaly

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