Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes
APT Student Scholar Abstract
4 - An Alternative Technique for Low-Cost, Non-Destructive Moisture Monitoring in Adobe Walls using Embedded RFID Technology
Monday, September 24
2:45 PM - 4:15 PM
Doctoral Student Fellow
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design Department of Historic Presrvation
Frank Matero, Chair, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation – University of Pennsylvania
Historically, in situ monitoring of moisture movement in existing walls has been a challenge. Even today, few reliable, validated methods exist which are non-invasive or destructive. The task is made far more difficult for earthen materials (rammed earth, adobe, etc.) for which destructive techniques can be especially damaging, and feasible, nondestructive methodologies are generally absent from the discussion. Given the contemporary, as well as future context of intensifying, global climatic phenomena, particularly the evolving severity and frequency of precipitation patterns, earthen constructions remain among the most vulnerable. This investigation reviews current strategies for moisture monitoring in adobe walls and reviews the implementation of new methods for doing so, namely the use of passive radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as a nondestructive, early indicator of moisture ingress. Following the four-tiered approach established by the National Park Service in its Climate Change Response Strategy, this research not only aims to develop a new monitoring methodology for vulnerability assessment, but to contribute to the dialogue among preservation scientists and site managers by sharing the methodology and its results. The product of this investigation will have broad applicability to other climate sensitive materials and construction types, both new and old.
- Define the difference between active and passive diagnostic monitoring as well as the advantages and disadvantage of each.
- List current strategies for moisture monitoring in adobe walls along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Describe the basic premise behind radio frequency identification technology and its implementation in the field of preservation specifically for moisture monitoring.
- Describe how low-cost, non-destructive methods for diagnostic monitoring fit into the context of preservation in an era of climate change particularly for climate sensitive historic structures.