Development and Implementation of Cultural Heritage Preservation using Ionizing Radiation Technology

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

24 June 2022


2 - New - Collecting or Evaluating proposals


The preservation of world cultural heritage is a key issue for maintaining national identity and understanding the exchanges among civilisations throughout history. Cultural heritage (CH) artefacts that are based on paper, textiles or wood are prone to biological attack under improper storage conditions. The IAEA has already published “Use of Ionising Radiation for Tangible Cultural Heritage Conservation; IAEA Radiation technology Series No.6” in 2017, and this book successfully demonstrated the application of ionising radiation for the preservation of CH artefacts. The CRP “Developing Radiation Treatment Methodologies and New Resin Formulations for Consolidation and Preservation of Archived Materials and Cultural Heritage Artefacts” is very successful with the participation of 20 Member States and provides the understanding of the effect of specific irradiation conditions on functional properties of CH artefacts. The previous CRP established appropriate irradiation methodologies and supported the development of new radiation curable resins with enhanced compatibility with CH artefacts. The previous CRP is closed in 2022. The new CRP will focus on the wider use of this technique with more participation of end-users and on evaluating the effect of irradiation on the functional properties of CH artefacts.


- Extend the outreach of the radiation technology to end-users and conservators (periodical virtual training, technical meetings, practical exhibitions)
- Increase the inter-institutional collaborations and multi-disciplinary approach (conservation and technology institutions, networking, joint publication)
- Increase the number of the participating institutes.
- Development and improvement of good practice procedures

Specific objectives

Research on effect of irradiation on the functional properties of different materials (textiles, sensitive and ethnographic materials, ceramics, dyes, silk).

Inter-laboratory collaboration of results obtained in the radiation treatments of CH using different techniques (gamma, X-ray, EB) and numerical simulation.

Establishment of appropriate procedures for irradiation of artefacts (dose mapping, dose limit ratio, simulation) to predict dose uniformity during the irradiation process.

Development of new radiation curable nano-structured polymers with enhanced compatibility with CH to consolidation and to cleaning artworks considering the ethical principles on conservation

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