The influence of the SO 2 ageing on the graffiti cleaning effectiveness with chemical procedures on a granite substrate

Vera Gomes, Amélia Dionísio, J. Santiago Pozo-Antonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Graffiti are one of the most severe threats to Stone Cultural Heritage and are most of the times removed after long periods of environmental exposure. This research intends to evaluate the influence of the ageing of the graffitis on the effectiveness of their cleaning. So, comparative studies on unaged and on artificially SO 2 aged samples were conducted. Four graffiti spray colours were applied on a granite stone and cleaned with two chemical commercial cleaners: a solution of KOH and a solution of n-butyl acetate, xylene and alcohol isobutyl. The spray paints (unaged and aged) and cleaning effectiveness were characterized by stereomicroscopy, colour spectrophotometry, adhesion tests, SEM, μEDXRF, XRD and FTIR. The cleaning effectiveness was also evaluated through surface roughness and static contact angle measurements. The alkyd graffiti paints presented greatest resistance under SO 2 rich environments than the polyethylene paint. The aged polyethylene paint showed chemical modifications that resulted in graffiti losses and neo formed mineralogical phases in the surface of the paint. After ageing, the paints became more difficult to clean, showed higher global colour changes and higher residue percentages. No significant roughness variations were detected after chemical cleaning. After the cleaning procedures aged surfaces became more water repellent comparatively to unaged and reference samples. The best cleaning effectiveness was mainly achieved with the potassium hydroxide solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Aerosol graffiti paints
  • Chemical cleaning
  • Cultural heritage
  • Effectiveness
  • Granite
  • SO ageing

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