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A Study on the Suitability of Mechanical Soft-Abrasive Blasting Methods to Extract Graffiti Paints on Ornamental Stones

Departamento de Enxeñaría de Recursos Naturais e Medio Ambiente, Escola de Enxeñaría de Minas e Enerxía, Universidade de Vigo, Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, 36310 Vigo, Spain
CERENA, DECIVIL, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2018, 8(10), 335;
Received: 9 September 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 24 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communications from TechnoHeritage 2017)
PDF [4669 KB, uploaded 24 September 2018]


Mechanical methods to extract undesired graffiti paints on ornamental stones are efficient cleaning methods from an economical point of view. However, effort on the optimization of mechanical cleaning procedures to avoid any damage to the substrate is required for large areas. In this study, two ornamental stones with different composition and texture, and which are commonly used in Spain and Portugal were selected: Granite Vilachán and Limestone Lioz. Moreover, the most common surface finishes were selected-disc-cutting and bush-hammering to simulate the stones found in buildings. Two graffiti spray paints were selected: Blue Ultramarine and Silver Chrome. As cleaning methods, three soft-abrasive blasting procedures: Hydrogommage (mixture of air–water–micro grained silicon abrasive), IBIX (mixture of air–micro grained silicon abrasive), and dry-ice procedure (carbon dioxide ice pellets), were tested at pressure below 0.4 MPa. The methodology for evaluating the effectiveness and harmfulness of each cleaning method was based on stereomicroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, color spectrophotometry, and confocal microscopy. As result, IBIX achieved the highest level of graffiti paint extraction although this method increased the surface roughness. Conversely, cleaning based on dry-ice projection did not achieve a satisfactory extraction of the graffiti, mainly of the blue paint. Dry-ice blasting can induce acid environments and IBIX causes dust emission during the projection. Hydrogommage was the most efficient cleaning method amongst the tested procedures, because it induced the lowest roughness change and although the graffiti extraction was not complete, it achieved the highest removal level. Therefore, the most satisfactory cleaning method was that achieving a satisfactory extraction level, minimal modifications of the surface roughness, an economic suitability, an environmental integration, and lower human health risks. View Full-Text
Keywords: graffiti; granite; limestone; finish; mechanical cleaning; ornamental stone graffiti; granite; limestone; finish; mechanical cleaning; ornamental stone

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Pozo-Antonio, J.S.; López, L.; Dionísio, A.; Rivas, T. A Study on the Suitability of Mechanical Soft-Abrasive Blasting Methods to Extract Graffiti Paints on Ornamental Stones. Coatings 2018, 8, 335.

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