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Protecting bronze art and monuments

NSF Award:

Advancing Science Excellence in North Dakota  (North Dakota State University Fargo)

North Dakota: Research Infrastructure and Partnerships for Discovery  (North Dakota State University Fargo)

Advancing Science Excellence in North Dakota (ASEND)  (North Dakota State University Fargo)

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A team of scientists from North Dakota State University (NDSU), Fargo, developed a polymer formulation to protect bronze monuments and statues that are outdoors.  Elinor Specialty Coatings, Fargo, N.D., licensed the removable coatings to further develop and to market the technology.

Marketed as BronzeShieldTM, the polymer technology maintains bronze's original patina, while it protects monuments, art and architecture from salt, UV radiation, moisture and vandalism. The durable, easily removed coating helps municipalities, museums and historical societies preserve history.

Although monuments are meant to last forever, budget constraints often lead to their neglect. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore a piece of public art. BronzeShield provides a more economical way for curators to manage maintenance requirements and retain the art's integrity.

The product provides shiny or matte protection similar to that of clear-coats on automobiles, but users can remove it with an uncomplicated, nontoxic liquid that avoids inflicting the damage associated with traditional (mechanical) removal methods.

Research collaboration and funding from several groups supported the translation of this research discovery into a practical application for the commercial market. The North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Product Design Center initiated this work. Additional funding came from the State of North Dakota Centers of Excellence Program through the NDSU Center for Surface Protection, as well as the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior, supported by North Dakota's congressional delegation.

Images (1 of )

  • scientist refines a removable, protective coating for bronze sculptures
  • researchers developed a protective, yet removable, coating for bronze sculptures
A removable coating for bronze sculptures was commercialized by a start-up company.
D. Koeck, ©2011 NDSU. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Researchers examine coating.
D. Koeck, ©2005 NDSU. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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