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Subject: Glycerine


From: Thomas Gutebier <thomas.gutebier>
Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Georgia Fox <gfox [at] csuchico__edu> writes

>Does anyone have any information or know anyone I can contact about
>treating live plants with glycerine for natural history museum

As treatment of living plants with glycerine is an old-fashioned
method it is not to be recommended nowadays--especially not for
permanent treatment in dioramas, as it is extremely difficult to
control and stabilize the humidity in a diorama. The method works
very well for short-term exhibitions. Just be aware that other
sensitive objects can be affected by the glycerine treated plants.

Glycerin is assimilated from living plants through their liquid
vessels into the cells. Therefore the plants has to be cut with a
sharp knife. Cutting with a pair of scissors will damage the cut
surface. Also, it is important to use the right concentration for
different plants, trunks and leaves.

The procedure needs to take place during open air conditions. Mix
glycerine and water with following proportions: 1 part glycerine and
2 or 3 parts of water. You will obtain a better result if you add
artificial colours, such as those used for food preparation.
Depending on the colour you use, you must test the concentration in
order to receive a desirable one.

As glycerine will sediment, after some weeks, to the bottom of the
stalk or trunk, this technique is not regarded as a permanent
solution. As a result, the upper part of the plant will shrink and
loose its natural shape and colour. I would rather recommend methods
as freeze drying, sand drying, alternatively making artificial
models by casting procedures. In any case, the final result needs
to be coloured, with brush or airbrush technique.

Thomas Gutebier
The Natural History Museum
Box 7283
S-402 35 Goteborg

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:74
                    Distributed: Friday, May 3, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-74-005
Received on Tuesday, 30 April, 2002

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