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|NDT.net Issue - 2015-02 - NEWS |
Intertek, a leading provider of quality and safety solutions worldwide, used its advanced technology to inspect the statue cast of Michelangelo’s David at the world-renowned Victoria & Albert Museum in London in November and gave it a clear bill of health
The 19th century plaster cast is the centrepiece at the V&A’s newly refurbished Weston Cast Court, which reopened on November 29. Earlier in November, a team of non-destructive testing experts from Derby-based Intertek went down to inspect the five-metre David after the Museum noticed flaking and cracking appearing on the figure. The statue had been moved around over the years and, with London heavily bombed during the Second World War, it was feared that this may have had an effect on David.
After the Museum had closed its doors to the public, Intertek’s team led by Quality Engineer, Andy Saunders, and two colleagues used digital radiography to examine David from his knees to his ankles – the most accessible parts of the statue.
The team were not allowed to touch the surface of the statue and they used an X-ray unit and digital scanner to examine David. The V&A staff were able to view ‘real-time’ images as the radiography was taking place. A further advantage of using digital radiography is that the images can be enhanced and manipulated for viewing and interpretation of the findings. The Intertek team discovered the flakes and cracks were simply lines in the paint, possibly from when it had been applied and as each paint layer was added over a period of time.
Andy Saunders, Intertek Quality Engineer and project leader, said: “It was a unique opportunity to examine such a fabulous statue and it was a great privilege to be part of this project. We enjoyed working on David immensely.
“The V&A staff were passionate about their work and very interested in the digital images we produced. We look forward to working with the V&A again in the future.”
The cast of Michelangelo’s David was made from a mould taken directly from the original in the mid-1850s and gifted to Queen Victoria by Leopold II, the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1857. Queen Victoria gave the plaster cast to South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) and today it resides in the Weston Cast Court.
Intertek’s non-destructive testing laboratory is based at Victory Park in Derby. The company supports a wide range of industries including rail, general engineering, aerospace, power generation, construction, petrochemical and, oil and gas with its diverse range of non-destructing techniques. These techniques include digital radiography, ultrasonic testing and eddy current testing.