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Subject: Pyroxylin on paper

Pyroxylin on paper

From: Stephen Koob <koobs>
Date: Tuesday, March 5, 1996
In response to Ramona Duncan-Huse's query on behalf of Claire Hoevel:

The nomenclature for cellulose nitrates is long and confusing, with

    " 'Pyroxylin'...applied to those cellulose nitrates soluble in
    amyl acetate and commercial wood alcohol, and used for lacquers,
    waterproofing solutions... The nitrogen content varies from
    10.5%-12.2%."

        --from Nitrocellulose Industry, E.C. Worden, Vol. 1, 1911.

The term 'pyroxylin' comes indirectly from the old word for wood
alcohol.  This material is more correctly described as 'cellulose
nitrate'.

Cellulose nitrates, in general, have been found to be notoriously
unstable and numerous conservation studies have been done on this
material from its use for film, adhesives and objects.  CCI (the
Canadian Conservation Institute) has published guidelines under CCI
Notes, 15, No. 3, 1994 "Display and storage of museum objects
containing cellulose nitrate".

Stephen Koob
Department of Conservation and Scientific Research
Freer Gallery of Art
Smithsonian Institution
Washington DC 20560
202-357-4880 x276

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:61
                  Distributed: Thursday, March 7, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-9-61-001
                                  ***
Received on Tuesday, 5 March, 1996

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