cod. 1007890

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Fisica della materia (FIS/03)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide the essential knowledge for the study of the materials used for artistic artefacts and of the physical / chemical techniques used for identification, dating, origin and for a diagnostic investigation on the state of conservation of art objects. The aim is to transfer knowledge and facilitate comprehension skills that allow to face the problems related to the study of the Cultural Heritage materials.It is also intended to provide the basic tools to interpret the results of the physical / chemical studies, to communicate in a comprehensible and correct way, developing the autonomous learning skills necessary for further study and applications or research.The student will be able to critically evaluate studies on materials, especially on provenance and conservation issues and on the techniques used. He will also be able to understand the evaluations related to the authenticity of the artistic material. The training objectives can therefore be summarized as follows:
[Knowledge and understanding] know the materials used for Cultural Heritage and the foundations of the main techniques for their study;qualitatively understand and explain the functioning of the main survey techniques.
[Applying knowledge and understanding] - evaluate similarities and differences between materials;- identify and compare the characteristics of the analytical / spectroscopic techniques;- apply knowledge and understanding demonstrating skills in the identification of the most suitable techniques for case studies.
[Learning skills] interpret and understand basic texts related to materials and techniques of diagnostics and conservation;know how to extract essential information from a scientific article on the diagnostics of cultural heritage.
[Making judgements]recognize and develop connections not only between the different parts of the course but also with basic concepts acquired in other lessons;critically evaluate the limits of validity of the techniques studied in the course;
[Communication skills]communicate the acquired knowledge in a clear, concise and effective way, using the correct technical language, in order to correctly translate even complex concepts into a comprehensible language.


The knowledge of physics and chemistry acquired in the high school.

Course unit content

Materials of interest for cultural heritage - Elements of the structure of matter - The main physical-chemical techniques of investigation of materials - Problems of identification, dating, conservation

Full programme

Materials of interest for cultural heritage - Elements of the structure of matter - The main physical-chemical techniques of investigation of materials (diagnostics - composition – conservation conditions) - Spectroscopy UV-VIS, IR, XRD - Optical and electronic microscopies - Nuclear and X-ray techniques - Radiography - Tomography - Imaging Techniques - Overview of colorimetry - The main dating techniques - Metals - Ceramics - Glass - Stone - Paintings - Natural and synthetic pigments - Paper, prints, documents, graphic and photographic material - Precious stones - Natural and synthetic organic materials - Fake and imitations - Conservation of Cultural Heritage - Nanostructured materials - Protective coatings - Self cleaning - CASE STUDIES


Notes assembled by the teacher and various references accessible on the ELLY Platform. Several case studies taken form the scientific literature to be discussed.

Teaching methods

Traditional frontal lessons with considerable use of slides and audio-visual instruments, with WEB based material or accessible on the ELLY platform. Students' involvement will be continuous, with frequent learning tests on materials and techniques, trying to provide fundamental concepts, correct units of measurement and appropriate orders of magnitude.

Assessment methods and criteria

The degree of learning will be continuously assessed by the active involvement of the students. At the end of the lessons, oral examination. The oral test aims to verify the understanding of the main aspects related to materials and diagnostic techniques, highlighting links and similarities between different situations. The aim is to evaluate the ability to apply the acquired knowledge and not just the repetition of mnemonic statements. It is intended to evaluate the ability to independently develop the concepts and to distinguish the essential from the negligible. During the oral examination the student will be asked to: - demonstrate that he has developed an independent judgment capacity based on the knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts, also by developing links between the different parts; - be able to use a precise language in order to correctly translate complex concepts into a comprehensible language.
The final evaluation will be defined by the oral exam.
Verification of Dublin descriptors:
- knowledge and understanding, applying knowledge and understanding, learning skills, making judgements are verified during the oral examination, based also on a discussion of the answers to the multiple choice test; -
communication skills are verified by the use of the appropriate language and correctness in the exposition.

Other information

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