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Subject: Dust


From: Lisa Mibach <starwind>
Date: Saturday, May 2, 1992
<<does the "abrasive action of dust and dirt" *really* constitute a
"serious deterioration problem?" And if so how serious?>>

waal, in terms of when you should spend money on it? If you have a
really stable environmental RH around 45% maybe not; if your institution
is like most, probably yes.
Dust abrasion is seen in ethnographic collections as a significant
contributor to the weakening of feathers and basketry fibers. Just think
of all those poor little organic fibers being sawn by the knife-like
edges of the "24% mineral dust (calcite, quartz, and feldspar)" as the
fibers expand and contract in response to changes of relative humidity.
And if you add the "sandpaper effect" of abrasive dust on paper during
the jiggling movement of compacting storage units...I mean, really,
-someone- has to worry about the microworld!  Yes, dust creates a
microclimate which is more moist than surrounding areas, contributing to
localized mould growth on organic materials (e.g. on the yummy dressings
on bindings), and to micro-pitting of metals.  Your friendly local
corrosion chemist can cite you literature references ad nauseum and
regale you with stories of localized corrosion-causing galvanic cells
set up by dust (among other factors).
Besides, it makes me sneeze.  Just another response by an organic
material.... And as for localized pH elevation from alkaline dust...I
bet in a hundred years or so the paper will look like it has white
measles where locally deacidified areas didn't yellow and the
surrounding areas did.  And have we finally determined that foxing is
unrelated to all of the above? Hmmmm?
Lisa Mibach 

                  Conservation DistList Instance 5:54
                    Distributed: Sunday, May 3, 1992
                        Message Id: cdl-5-54-010
Received on Saturday, 2 May, 1992

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