The requirements for the formation of a protective patina on conventional weathering steels (WS) are well known in the scientific literature related to civil structures. However, these criteria are not always given due consideration when WS is used in cultural heritage, as in the case of sculptural work. An artificial patina was produced simulating artists’ working procedures using a direct patination technique, applying a solution of 10% H2
on WS specimens. These were exposed for two years in the urban atmosphere of Madrid along with weathering steel specimens without artificial patina, called natural patina. The patinas generated have been analyzed using colorimetry, micro-Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thickness measurements.The artificial patina color formed hardly differs from the color that the natural patina acquires from practically the beginning of its formation in the atmosphere of Madrid. After two years, the atmospheric corrosion rate of patinated WS is lower than 6 µm/year. The sulfuric acid treatment accelerates the protective ability of the patina with respect to the natural patina according to the ratio goethite to lepidocrocite (α/γ). Chromium-rich goethite is located in the inner part of the artificial patina as well as chromium-rich ferrihydrite. Ferrihydrite may act as a precursor of nanophasic goethite.
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