Discovering the colours of industrial heritage characterisation of paint coatings from the powerplant at the Levada de Tomar

Isabel Tissot, João F. Fonseca, Matthias Tissot, Manuel Lemos, Maria L. Carvalho, Marta Manso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The paint coatings of three energy generators from the 20th-century powerplant at Levada de Tomar, Portugal, were investigated using micro-Raman and micro-X-ray fluorescence spectroscopies and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy. This multi-analytical approach was used to identify the colouring agents, thus providing a chronological chromatic pallet and allowing to infer on the use of the three energy generators. Together with traditional pigments like Prussian blue, red iron oxide, and carbon black, pigments used in industrial areas like copper phthalocyanine and toluidine red were identified as colouring agents. Complex paint systems of the oldest equipment (1924) were revealed as well as maintenance procedures of the equipment that worked during a longer time (1944–1990). Powdery carbon black layers, resulting from incomplete hydrocarbon combustion and present between metallic substrates and coating layers, suggested the inexistence of paint coatings replacement after the powerplant shutdown. The identification of magnetite as a corrosion product of iron alloy substrate revealed that corrosion developed after the engine shutdown and not during the operation period. The results obtained highlight the potentialities of scientific-based approach and Raman spectroscopy to the industrial heritage study, an emergent cultural area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-216
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Raman Spectroscopy
Issue number1(SI)
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • conservation
  • industrial heritage
  • paint coatings
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • XRF


Dive into the research topics of 'Discovering the colours of industrial heritage characterisation of paint coatings from the powerplant at the Levada de Tomar'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this