The research and development of new conservation materials and instrumentation, the integration of contemporary science into the discipline are of fundamental importance developing the best practices in conservation and preserving cultural heritage assets. Sophisticated and accurate instrumentation allows conservators to treat artworks within the margins of minimal intervention and risk, while achieving the maximum result. With this goal in mind in November 2011, the IMAT (Intelligent Mobile Accurate Thermo-Electrical mild heating device) project under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program (FP7) for research has been launched. IMAT project responds to a critical omission in current treatment instrumentation for accurate, selective and mobile devices for mild heating, which is essential for success in most structural treatments of paintings, works on paper, textiles and other cultural heritage assets.
Università degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI, Italy) is the coordinator of the project, which is lead by Tomas Markevicius and Nina Olsson (Lithuania). UNIFI will also develop the console and temperature controls for the new device. Future Carbon GMBH (Germany) is responsible for the development of the innovative nano-coating, which is carried out in close collaboration with the Sefar AG (Switzerland) and the UNIFI. Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg SRAL (the Netherlands), Laura Amorosi (Italy), Lorenzo Conti (Italy), Lietuvos Dailės Muziejus (Lithuania) and Istituto per l’Arte e il Restauro Palazzo Spinelli (Italy) are responsible for the field testing of the IMAT techonolgy, while Nardini Press S.r.l. (Italy) will contribute in the dissemination and C.T.S. S.r.l. (Italy) in marketing making available the device available for the conservators.The IMAT project researches the application of carbon nanotubes and other conductive nanomaterials to design new highly accurate mobile technology and mobile devices - in the form of flexible mat heaters – “smart mats” with the unique qualities for conservation. The IMAT project involves cross-discipline team of scientists, electrical engineers and conservators working alongside from the initial concept design phase throughout the final stages of testing and dissemination so as to gain the best insight into design improvements, to optimize the range of potential applications and to develop new treatment methodology.