Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Stability of waterlogged wood treated with PEG

Stability of waterlogged wood treated with PEG

From: Donny Hamilton <dlhamilton>
Date: Sunday, August 13, 2000
Over the past five years, the conservation staff of the Nautical
Archaeology Program and the Conservation Research Laboratory at
Texas A&M University has been conducting research on the
conservation of waterlogged wood with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and
it has resulted in a number of questions that I want to throw out to
the Conservation DistList.

    1.  Can anyone cite an instance where a ship's hull (or major
        structural timber) in North America has been satisfactorily
        conserved with PEG?

    2.  Can anyone cite an instance where a ship's hull in Europe
        has been satisfactorily conserved with PEG?

    3.  What have been the major problems of the waterlogged hull
        conservation projects.

        Satisfactorily conserved means there was no major
        warping/shrinkage, and there are few, if any problems of the
        PEG puddling and dripping as it migrates out of the cells.

    4.  Once conserved, how crucial to the conservation treatment is
        a well controlled environment.

        This leads to another set of questions:

    5.  What are the significant problems that have come up over the
        years for waterlogged wood (large or small) that have been
        conserved with PEG--especially those artifacts that have
        been treated for 10 to 20 years.

    6.  Is PEG an effective treatment for waterlogged wood that has
        long term stability, and remains reversible or is it used
        because it is effective in the short run and is relatively
        cheap when compared to alternative treatments.

    7.  To what degree does the PEG (a polymer) cross link with the
        cellulose, sugars and starches in the cell wall and is thus
        impossible to remove, thus not really reversible.

Additional perspectives are being sought.

Donny L. Hamilton
Director, Conservation Research Laboratory
Head, Nautical Archaeology Program
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 77843
Fax: 979-845-6399

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:13
                  Distributed: Monday, August 14, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-13-009
Received on Sunday, 13 August, 2000

[Search all CoOL documents]