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Charlotta Bylund Melin new PhD in Conservation

News: Feb 02, 2018

After a couple of days of nervousness it was time for Charlotta Bylund Melin to finally defend her thesis "Wooden objects in historic buildings: Effects of dynamic relative humidity and temperature" in the afternoon of Friday, the 26th of January. After the two hour public defense it did not take long for the examination board to gratefully announce her as a PhD in Conservation. The opponent Professor Dr. Ralf Kilian, Fraunhofer-Institut für Bauphysik IBP, and Universität Bamberg Restaurierungswissenschaft in der Baudenkmalpflege in Germany, introduced and summarized both the subject area and the thesis successfully and comprehensibly.

Great amount of attendances

The auditorium of Geovetarcentrum at the University of Gothenburg was almost filled with attendants. Professor Dr. Kilians introduction and his summary of the thesis revealed his capability and expertise on the subject. The introduction pointed to the main question of the thesis, how wooden objects respond to dynamic changes in relative humidity and temperature that takes place inside historical buildings. Which, from now on, Dr. Bylund Melin restricted her research to a specific amount of churches from the middle ages on the island of Gotland in order to study the relation between damages that has occurred from different indoor climate conditions.

A summary of the thesis by the opponent

Professor Dr. Kilian introductionIn the first part Dr. Bylund Melin compared two risk assessment websites and their online service by uploading four different sets of indoor climate data from historic buildings to determine the impact on wooden and paper objects.

In the second part, Dr. Bylund Melin concentrated her research to 16 of the totally 92 churches erected prior to 1350 located on the island of Gotland. Professor Dr. Kilian summarized it as a relation to damages on the wooden objects placed in both historical and present indoor environments. By studying the damage to the pulpits in these churches and relate it to the historical data on energy consumption a slight correlation could be found between cracks in the paint layer and increased energy use.

The third part was explained by Professor Dr. Kilian how Dr. Bylund Melin in a laboratory setting conducted experiments and simulations of how moisture is transported inside wood. The intention of these laboratory tests was to study the effect of the dynamic climate conditions, with an essential focus on low temperatures and high relative humidity as found in historic buildings.
Professor Kilian made it clear that the research done by Dr. Bylund Melin is an important contribution to conservation as an area of research.

The oponent and the defendent

Exciting and in depth discussions

After a well performed overview by the opponent it raised a lot of thoughtfully prepared questions regarding the different parts of the thesis. It provided Dr. Bylund Melin the opportunity to go in to more details and in depth elaborate her use of the different methods. The questions and the remarks by Professor Dr. Kilian evolved to engaging discussions. Dr. Bylund Melin maintained a confident impression by skillfully answering and developing her arguments in her thesis. Which also involved defending some of the contradictions and weaknesses that was emphasized.

As a conclusion, Dr. Bylund Melin emphasized that we can learn so much from historical buildings and that it is important to continue to study objects in the field and in laboratories. Her final statement was to underscore that low temperature is good for conservation and that this in turn will reduce energy consumption.

The final decision of a convinced examination board

Waiting for the examination boardThe attendants gathered in the atrium as they waited for the announcement from the examination board. It did not take long for them to agree on and finally pronounce that Charlotta Bylund Melin successfully defended her thesis and now is a PhD in Conservation. Everyone who was gathered cheered and honored her with jubilation, embracement and a toast.


Here you can find Dr. Charlotta Bylund Melin's thesis "Wooden objects in historic buildings: Effects of dynamic relative humidity and temperature" as a PDF.


Page Manager: Emma Sjöberg|Last update: 5/16/2016

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-04-03