Graduate student Sonia Naidu (center, above) received the top award for her poster, “Surface Modification of Calcite to Reduce Solubility in Acid Rain”. The Princeton Research Symposium is an annual event where Princeton graduate students and research staff present their findings to the University community and the general public.
Sonia describes her work as follows:
“The aim of my research is to protect marble sculptures and monuments from the
corrosive effects of acid rain. The approach is to coat the marble with a protective layer
of lower solubility, to retard the dissolution process and preserve our works of art. We
need to develop a treatment that is chemically resistant to acid attack, structurally
compatible with calcite (mineral that makes up marble), involves simple chemistry and
does not alter the aesthetics of the stone. For this purpose, we are currently developing a
novel treatment that consists of modifying the surface of the stone by coating it with a
phosphate mineral that is very durable in acidic conditions and has a similar crystal
structure to calcite. Some of our preliminary work and findings in this area will be
presented at the poster presentation.”
Sonia is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
She works with Professor George W. Scherer in the area of conservation of art. Her
work is supported by the Kress Foundation.