Use of Hydroxyapatite for enhancing durability in marble. This video highlights the recent project by George Scherer’s laboratory at Princeton University on developing state-of-the-art techniques to protect marble monuments and sculptures. This project was funded in part by PTT Grant (MT-2210-12-NC-08).

Marble is an elegant material that is used for our most precious sculptures and monuments, but it suffers from rapid corrosion, particularly when subjected to acidic rain. Research is underway at Princeton University to enhance the durability of marble by taking a lesson from biology. Our teeth are exposed to an acidic environment, but they dissolve about 10 thousand times more slowly than marble, because they are made of a durable mineral called hydroxyapatite (HAP). Graduate student Sonia Naidu and Professor George Scherer have demonstrated that it is possible to deposit a thin layer of HAP onto the surface of marble by a gentle chemical reaction. By exploiting the structural and chemical similarity of marble and HAP to achieve a strong bond, they aim to provide long-term protection to objects of art made from marble, without altering their appearance. The research is being supported by a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, which is a division of the Department of the Interior.

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