Chemical composition and alteration processes of glasses from the Cathedral of León (Spain)

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The Cathedral of León has one of the most important ensembles of medieval stained glass windows in Europe; however, most of them have been altered by atmospheric weathering. The main objective of this study was the characterization of a set of glass samples from the Cathedral of León, the comparison with glasses from previous interventions in the cathedral and the study of the relation between the alteration pathologies, the chemical composition of the glasses and the environment in which they were placed. The samples were characterized by means of binocular microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, visible spectrophotometry, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and X-ray diffraction. The main alteration of glasses exposed until the 19th century was the formation of pits by dealkalinization, while the glasses exposed until the present formed CaSO4 deposits as a consequence of the synergic effect of rainwater and gaseous pollutants. Glasses altered by the browning of manganese were also characterized.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBoletin de la Sociedad Espanola de Ceramica y Vidrio
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Alteration pathologies
  • Atmospheric weathering
  • Cathedral of León
  • Stained glass windows


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