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Micellar solutions and microemulsions for cleaning the historical materials
The removal of unwanted material from the surface of historical artefacts is one of the most important and also the most delicate operations in the restoration of cultural heritage. In the Center for innovations in the field of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies a novel design concept of the cleaning microemulsions was developed based on a combination of the two functions, implemented by two components, namely a micellar solution or microemulsion of nonionic surfactants with the addition of co-surfactants and the specific solvents, which are selected according to the respective substances to be removed. The patented cleaning compositions can very effectively and selectively remove coatings of many substances important for the restoration practice, such as waxes, resins (e.g, Damara), paraffins, oils, water acrylate dispersions, hydrophobization coatings (both monomeric and polymeric) etc. Besides the efficient cleaning, the developed procedures have wider applications, such as in a new method of the hydrophobization of sandstone and limestone materials with a thin hydrophilic surface layer, which has been certified by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.