The France-Switzerland cross-border territory has been marked by a succession of contacts and interactions on both sides of the current border that began in prehistoric times and whose archaeological, historical, artistic, architectural and industrial heritage bears witness to. The desire to preserve this cultural heritage is at the heart of this project.

The objective of the MetalPAT-Interreg project is to develop a low-cost computer application (MiCorr) to assist conservation professionals in the efficient, quick and non-invasive diagnosis of heritage metals.

This diagnosis is currently based on the visual observation of the forms of corrosion developed on the metals and on the knowledge and/or experience of each expert. The latter is not immune to an error of appreciation that may lead to inappropriate intervention. The only current alternative to consolidate the diagnosis is to resort to physico-chemical analyses to assess the extent of corrosion in the materials' core and its development on a microscopic scale. However, they are invasive and costly.

In order to carry out this project, cross-border expertise in the field of macroscopic description of forms of corrosion, of detailed study of microstructures and corrosion mechanisms, and of computer management will have to be pooled.

A MiCorr user, observing an altered metal object with the naked eye and/or under binocular (step 1, fig. 1) schematizes the observed corrosion structures from the most external strata  to the residual metal (step 2, Fig. 1). From MiCorr search engines based on the digital reconstruction of corrosion structure strata and/or keywords characterizing the object under consideration (step 3, fig. 1), matchings can be made with the corrosion forms in the system database (step 4, fig. 1). More information is provided under the About tab.

           Figure 1

 Fig. 1: The steps involved in using the MiCorr expert system.

The partners involved



The research unit of Haute Ecole Arc Conservation-restauration (HE-Arc CR) in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, began several years ago to collect and homogenize metallographic analysis data on Swiss historical and archaeological artefacts in order to constitute a first reference database for heritage professionals confronted with the question of diagnosing the conservation condition of metals found on Swiss territory. A catalogue of corrosion models documented according to a standardised observation and analysis procedure was compiled. As this database did not allow professionals to simply establish correspondences between the objects newly studied and the corrosion models collected, HE-Arc CR collaborated with the Management division of Haute Ecole Arc (HEG Arc) in Neuchâtel in order to automate the correlation of data. A feasibility study was thus carried out and led to the creation of the MiCorr expert system.



MiCorr_LMC Iramat.jpg  MiCorr_CNRS.jpg MiCorr_LAPA.jpg MiCorr_NIMBE.jpg MiCorr_CEA.jpg

The CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique) Laboratory Metallurgies and Cultures (LMC-IRAMAT) of the University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard (UTBM) and its advanced characterization platform, the Laboratory Archéomatériaux et Prévision de l’Altération (LAPA-NIMBE) of the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) located on the Saclay plateau in Ile de France, have developed a methodology for the detailed investigation of corrosion forms, particularly those developed on ancient materials. This methodology is based on the use of multi-technical characterization protocols to describe the corrosion forms developed over the long term and from nano to macroscale, creating then a link with the observations made by HE-Arc CR and the group of end-users. 


End-users are essential to the development of MiCorr thanks to an iterative approach, where the different functions of the application will be tested in-situ. Their feedback should make it possible to validate the functions judged to be effective and/or to modify the others in order to improve the relevance and effectiveness of the application. Furthermore, they will contribute to the enrichment of the database.


MiCorr_Stiftung HAM.jpg     MiCorr_Kanton Bern Archaeologie.jpg     MiCorr_SAEF.jpg    MiCorr_Université de Fribourg.jpg

      MiCorr_MAHG.jpg     MiCorr_MEG.jpg    MiCorr_MJAH.jpg       MiCorr_SAP.jpg*

    MiCorr_Latenium.jpg         MiCorr_MIH.jpg       MiCorr_Abbaye de St Maurice.jpg       MiCorr_MCAH.jpg   MiCorr_MHL.jpg  MiCorr_Serac.jpg**  MiCorr_SMRA.jpg

*: Section d'Archéologie et Paléontologie (SAP)

**: Unité Patrimoine du Service des affaires culturelles du canton de Vaud (SERAC)


     MiCorr_Drac.jpg    MiCorr_Inrap.jpg  MiCorr_Musée du Temps.jpg ***   MiCorr_Musée de l'Horlogerie de Morteau.jpg****

***: together with Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie
****: together with Musée de la montre de Villers le Lac


The MetalPAT project is supported by the European cross-border cooperation programme Interreg France-Switzerland 2014-2020 and has received a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant of 186,599€.



The project is also supported by the following Swiss cantons: Bern, Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais and Vaud.

      MiCorr_canton de Berne.jpg   MiCorr_canton du Jura.jpg    MiCorr_canton de Neuchâtel.jpg    MiCorr_canton du Valais.jpg    MiCorr_canton de Vaud.jpg

The Communauté du Savoir has also contributed to the implementation of the search tools, more particularly the identification of metals through their visual observation. The end-users involved in this work were: Stiftung HAM, Musée International d'Horlogerie de la Chaux-de-Fonds, Musée Historique Lausanne,  Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève, Musée du Temps de Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie de Besançon and Musée d'Horlogerie de Morteau. Other external partners joined this work: Musée Rural Jurassien des Genevez, Musée de Pontarlier, Centre de Conservation et d'Etude des Musées of Lons-le-Saunier and Musée national de l'automobile de Mulhouse.




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