It has been noted that wooden objects in different collections were affected by serious deterioration processes caused by the presence of unstable salts. Chemical reactions of iron compounds and alum salts - as most prominent examples - led to the forming of different acids and acidification of the wood. The conservation using alum salts in the period circa 1850 - 1950 initiated a slow but ongoing deterioration process.
The conservation community gave itself the goal to develop a preventive way to limit and stop the decomposition of unstable salts present in the wood which required detailed knowledge about the long-term behavior of unstable salts and their interaction with different consolidants and other conservation materials.
The Arco project has developed a testing protocol for archaeological wood containing unstable salts and treated with different consolidants, well-known as well as newly developed materials.
Impacts & Results
Within the scope of ArCo, wood samples containing unstable salts - untreated samples as well as chemically treated ones - have been accelerated aged varying different parameters.
The process has been monitored by chemical analyses, optical and electron microscopy and tomography.
The project has developed a standard testing protocol to make different methods comparable.
It has enabled conservators and conservation scientists to choose the most suitable preservation strategy for different types of archaeological wood.
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