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2000-year-old Statue Of An Athlete Sheds Light On Corrosion And Other Modern Challenges

Date:
July 9, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The restoration of a 2,000-year-old bronze sculpture of the famed ancient Greek athlete Apoxyomenos may help modern scientists understand how to prevent metal corrosion, discover the safest ways to permanently store nuclear waste, and understand other perplexing problems.

A 2000-year-old statue of a Greek athlete sheds new light on corrosion and other modern challenges, scientists report.
Credit: The American Chemical Society

The restoration of a 2,000-year-old bronze sculpture of the famed ancient Greek athlete Apoxyomenos may help modern scientists understand how to prevent metal corrosion, discover the safest ways to permanently store nuclear waste, and understand other perplexing problems. That's the conclusion of a new study on the so-called "biomineralization" of Apoxyomenos appearing in the current issue of ACS' Crystal Growth & Designl. Best known as "The Scraper," the statue depicts an athlete scraping sweat and dust from his body with a small curved instrument.

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In the report, Davorin Medakovic and colleagues point out that Apoxyomenos was discovered in 1998 on floor of the Adriatic Sea. While the discovery was a bonanza for archaeologists and art historians, it also proved to be an unexpected boon to scientists trying to understand biomineralization. That's the process in which animals and plants use minerals from their surroundings and form shells and bone. Apoxyomenos was encrusted with such deposits.

"As studies of long-term biofouled manmade structures are limited, the finding of an ancient sculpture immersed for two millennia in the sea provided a unique opportunity to probe the long-term impact of a specific artificial substrate on biomineralizng organisms and the effects of biocorrosion," the report said. By evaluating the mineral layers and fossilized organisms on the statue, the researchers were able to evaluate how underwater fouling organisms and communities interacted with the statue as well as how certain mineral deposits on the bronze sculpture slowed its deterioration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lyons et al. Biomineralization on an Ancient Sculpture of the Apoxyomenos: Effects of a Metal-Rich Environment on Crystal Growth in Living Organisms. Crystal Growth & Design, 2009; 090521110412001 DOI: 10.1021/cg900402b

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "2000-year-old Statue Of An Athlete Sheds Light On Corrosion And Other Modern Challenges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708094832.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, July 9). 2000-year-old Statue Of An Athlete Sheds Light On Corrosion And Other Modern Challenges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708094832.htm
American Chemical Society. "2000-year-old Statue Of An Athlete Sheds Light On Corrosion And Other Modern Challenges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708094832.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

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