Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 495–506 | Cite as

Characterisation and evaluation of the environmental impact on historical parchments by differential scanning calorimetry

  • Elena Badea
  • Giuseppe Della Gatta
  • Petru Budrugeac


Our recent developments concerning the assessment of parchments deterioration using DSC are reported. Measurements performed on samples in excess water conditions, in static air and gas flow provided qualitative and quantitative information on parchment ageing and deterioration at microscopic and mesoscopic level, when assembly of fibres/fibrils is weakened, partially and eventually completely lost, and at molecular level, when triple helix uncoiling occurs. A damage ranking scale based on a large collection of DSC parameters obtained by investigating artificially aged samples was set up. Deconvolution of the DSC thermal denaturation peaks in excess water enabled evaluating and discriminating stability of parchments with similar damage levels. Further experimental evidences such as softening of the crystalline fraction of collagen, thermal-oxidation and collagen gelatinisation were detected by DSC measurements in gas flow and static air, and related to specific deterioration patterns. DSC measurement of wet samples provided an objective and reliable method for evaluating parchment shrinkage temperature overcoming the limitations of conventional methods.


Parchment Collagen DSC Ageing Cultural heritage 



This research was funded by the European Union Fifth Framework project EVK4-2001-00067: Improved Damage Assessment of Parchment (IDAP), Italian project CIPE 04 D39: Old Parchment: Evaluating Restoration and Analysis (OPERA) and Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research project CEEX 165: Multidisciplinary research for establishing the deterioration mechanisms of historical and cultural parchment documents (PERGAMO). The enthusiastic collaboration of Cecilia Laurora, Rosetta Granziero, Marzia Rizzo and Battista Pittari (State Archives of Turin), Anna Braghieri and Stefano Benedetto (Historical Archives of the City of Turin), Silvia Perona and Paola Novaria (Historical Archives of the University of Turin) is warmly acknowledged. Authors are grateful to Dr. Lucretia Miu (INCDTP-ICPI, Bucharest) for the measurement of shrinkage temperatures by MHT.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Badea
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Della Gatta
    • 1
  • Petru Budrugeac
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry IFMUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.National R&D Institute for Electrical Engineering, INCDIE ICPE-CABucharestRomania

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