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Layer of graphene could help protect statues and paintings from damage

Covering paintings with very thin layers of graphene, or mixing graphene-derived materials into mortars used for repairing historical structures, could protect them from degrading

By Karmela Padavic-Callaghan

29 January 2024

The Leshan Giant Buddha statue, carved into a cliff face

John W Banagan/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Graphene, an extremely thin material known for its excellent electrical conductivity, could also be a powerful tool for preserving paintings, statues and historical buildings.

Often called a “wonder material”, graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms and is highly resistant to heat, acids and physical damage. It also absorbs only about 2 per cent of visible light, making it mostly transparent – and a good candidate for shielding artwork. Mauro Moglianetti at the Italian Institute of Technology and his…

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