Two types of innovative coatings based on fluoroethylene/vinylether alternating copolymers are investigated as protective systems for bronze works-of-art. The influence of a polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS), i.e. open-cube trisilanol-heptaisooctyl-POSS, on the surface, mechanical, optical and electrochemical properties of coatings is examined. It is found that the isooctyl groups in the organic shell of POSS cause an increase in the hydrophobicity of the surface. On the other hand, nanoindentation tests show that the reduced modulus, hardness and plasticity index decrease with the addition of POSS, while abrasion resistance is slightly improved. Haze of coatings increases when POSS nanoparticles are present. More importantly, a beneficial effect of POSS addition on the protective efficiency against corrosion is assessed by exposure of coatings to acidic vapours and electrochemical treatments. In this regard, potentiodynamic polarisation clearly shows that the protective efficiency is systematically larger for coatings comprising POSS. The ex situ IR reflection-absorption spectroelectrochemistry shows that cuprous oxide can eventually form at the coating|bronze interface, which is identified through the spectroelectrochemistry of unprotected bronze.
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