IAQ 2003, Presentation 4:
Impact of Heating System on the Dimensional Change of Wood - A case study of the church in Rocca Pietore, Italy
Roman Kozlowski & Lukasz Bratasz
A significant number of historic churches are heated in the cold period sporadically when used. The artificial climate produced by heating episodes is thought to have a great impact on the works of art preserved in churches. The rapid warming of the air causes a drop in the relative humidity and a release of moisture and shrinkage of artworks like paintings on canvas or decorative objects of wood. On the other hand, increased moisture content of the air generated by those using the church causes condensation on surfaces that remain cold like walls, ceilings or stained glass. FRIENDLY HEATING - a research project within the European Commission 5th Framework Programme was launched in 2002 to develop a novel heating system which is able to contain heat just in the area where people stay. The novel system will be set up and studied in a church in Rocca Pietore in the Dolomites in Italy for the extreme climatic conditions found there. An important aspect of the project will be careful evaluation of risk of damaging the church's polychrome wooden sculptures before and after the installation of the heating prototype. Dimensional response of wood to the fluctuations in ambient relative humidity will be monitored in situ with a range of sensors -linear inductive displacement transducers for non-decorated wooden structural elements, non-contact laser sensors for remote measurements of objects of artistic value and inductive sensors for monitoring movement of cracks in wooden elements. Strains and stresses within the material will be assessed. The paper will report on the results of the first winter campaign in the Rocca Pietore church planned between November 2002 and February 2003.
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