Magazine article ASEE Prism

Re-Creation of Adam

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Re-Creation of Adam

Article excerpt

When a plywood pedestal buckled beneath Tullio Lombardo's "Adam" one October night in 2002, it sent the six-foot, three-inch Renaissance masterpiece crashing to the floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The statue's 770 pounds of Carrara marble broke into 28 recognizable pieces while hundreds of fragments scattered on the Mets Vêlez Blanco Patio. Thus began a painstaking 12-year collaboration among art experts, craftsmen, and engineers - including Princeton University specialists in fracture mechanics who work mainly in aerospace and micro-electronics - that broke new ground in restoration. "The fact that fracture mechanics was relevant astounded me," says Wole Soboyejo, an expert in the field who is also professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton. Using a servo-hydraulic testing machine and a crack-measuring instrument, along with computer modeling, he and his colleagues investigated what kinds of adhesives to apply in reassembling the sculpture so cracks wouldn't grow in the white marble. …

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