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Subject: Desalination of iron artifacts

Desalination of iron artifacts

From: Katharina Schmidt-Ott <>
Date: Wednesday, July 15, 1998
In our laboratory we usually desalinate iron artifacts in alkaline
sulfite solutions with satisfactory results. We use 1 molar
solutions in stainless steel containers. We now have a larger amount
of iron artifacts with silver and/or copper inlays to be
desalinated. When doing tests on the desalination of iron artifacts
with copper or bronze rivets, we have found a fine copper layering
transferred to other artifacts in the bath. We therefore suspect that
the copper or bronze is electrochemically dissolved.

As this would be unacceptable for the treatment of artifacts with
inlays, we would be happy to know if anyone has experiences with the
desalination of such artifacts.

Katharina Schmidt-Ott
Swiss National Museum
Department of Archaeology
Hardturmstr. 185
CH- 8002 Zurich

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:11
                   Distributed: Friday, July 17, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-11-017
Received on Wednesday, 15 July, 1998

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