Assessment of collagen-based materials which are supports of cultural and historical objects

C. Popescu, P. Budrugeac, F. J. Wortmann, L. Miu, D. E. Demco, M. Baias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The thermal degradation of collagen-based materials, viz. collagen, recently manufactured parchments and tanned leathers, a heritage parchment and patrimonial (historical) leathers, was investigated by thermal analysis methods. With progressive heating, all these materials exhibit three main successive processes, associated with dehydration, protein denaturation and pyrolysis/oxidation. The analysis of both denaturation and thermo-oxidation revealed significant differences between aged leather, collagen, recently manufactured parchments and tanned leathers in terms of the number of overlapping processes (reflected in the number of peaks recorded at denaturation) and of the oxidative degradation rates, given by the normalised curves of differential thermal gravimetry (DTG). The various observations are proposed as qualitative indices for assessing the age and storage conditions of leather. A three-phase model was used for explaining the results. This consists of crystalline collagen filaments that are embedded in an amorphous matrix with an interface zone between the crystalline and amorphous regions. Solid-state 1H NMR investigations corroborate the thermal analysis results and enhance the understanding of the ageing processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-982
Number of pages7
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Collagen-helix
  • Denaturation
  • Leather
  • Parchment
  • Solid-state H NMR
  • Thermal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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