Regenerated cellulose gel as alternative to physical rigid gels

The cleaning of cultural heritage presents scientists and restorers with many challenges, as it is irreversible and can lead to permanent changes and damage to the work of art. In the 20th century, the challenge grew as modern paints, which are extremely sensitive to all conventional cleaning methods, required cleaning treatments. The question of control over the cleaning action became the central point of the field and new, improved products were constantly sought. To meet this need, new gels were considered and tested to ensure better controlled cleaning.
Our work investigates the effects of a regenerated cellulose gel (RCG), a rigid gel of pure cellulose loaded with water, on two sensitive paint layers, acrylic and modern oil. Our research aims to evaluate the potential and interaction as a cleaning tool for preservation as an alternative to the currently used physical rigid gels: agar, agarose and gellan gum. The cleaning gel is of great interest because it consists of pure cellulose, a natural polymer that is stable against environmental influences and whose residual parts, if they remain on the art object, do not react chemically with the substrate.

Contact, Parnters & Publication

Electra D'Emilio, 


HKB Hochschule der Künste Bern, Berner Fachhochschule BFH (Stefan Zumbühl)



  • Masterthesis Electra D'Emilio
  • De France, K. J.; D'Emilio, E.; Cranston, E. D.; Geiger, T.; Nyström, G.,
    Dual physically and chemically crosslinked regenerated cellulose – Gelatin composite hydrogels towards art restoration,
    Carbohydrate Polymers 2020, 234, doi: j.carbpol.2020.115885


Status: completed







Cellulose Gel