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Materials

International Cooperative Programme on Effects of Air Pollution on Materials, including Historic and Cultural Monuments

Co-Chairs: Mr. Johan Tidblad and Mr. Pasquale Spezzano
Head of Programme Centre: Mr. Johan Tidblad

Several studies of materials have indicated that atmospheric corrosion influenced by acidifying pollutants is costly. Extensive damage has also been observed on historical and cultural structures and monuments’ calcareous stones, medieval glass and metals. For these reasons, the International Cooperative Programme on Effects of Air Pollution on Materials, including Historic and Cultural Monuments (ICP Materials) was launched in 1985 to fill some of the major gaps in our knowledge.

The objectives of ICP Materials are to perform a quantitative evaluation of the effect of sulphur and nitrogen compounds and other major pollutants, including the effects of low concentrations of these pollutants on the atmospheric corrosion of important materials, and to assess the trends of corrosion and pollution.

The quantitative evaluation aims at determining dose-response relationships as a basis for assessing acceptable and/or target levels and calculating costs due to material damage. The materials examined include structural metals, stone materials, paint coatings, electric contact materials, samples of medieval stained-glass windows and polymer materials. The aim of the trend exposures is to provide effects-based evidence for emission reductions achieved under the Convention, as well as a method for identifying extraordinary environmental changes that result in materials damage.

. A network of about 30 exposure sites across around 18 countries covers a broad band of geographic zones in Europe and North America. At these sites, pollution of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) are measured. During some periods the concentration of nitric acid (HNO3) concentration and deposition of particulate matter (PM) are included. In addition, rainwater is analysed to examine the wet deposition of pollutants. 

The Programme is planned and coordinated by a Task Force under the leadership of Sweden, which provides the Main Research Centre at the Corrosion and Metals Research Institute (KIMAB), Stockholm. Since 2005, Sweden and Italy (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development – ENEA) are co-chairing the programme. The Czech Republic, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria and Switzerland are responsible for sub-centres, which prepare and distribute specimens of particular materials and evaluate corrosion effects after exposure.

Further information is available from the Programme Centre.