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Subject: Freezing wet textiles

Freezing wet textiles

From: Glennda Marsh-Letts <g_marshletts<-a>
Date: Thursday, November 3, 2005
Karin von Lerber <karin.vonlerber [at] prevart__ch> writes

>I am well aware of  the publications dealing with freezing as a pest
>control method and its effects on (dry) textiles. What I am looking
>for, however, is information on the effect of freezing (not only
>freeze-drying) on textile fibres when textiles are completely
>soaked. I am also aware that freezing is done rather frequently when
>block salvaging textiles and is recommended on many internet based
>recovery-information sites. But I am not aware of any scientific
>research demonstrating what is actually going on during the freezing
>process. ...

>During recovery work after the floods in Switzerland there was a
>controversial discussion about the possible negative effects of
>freezing wet textiles. The concerns were that ice crystals will grow
>inside the fibres and cause damage. Fortunately at that point of the
>discussion clean water became available again; we therefore continued
>rinsing and air drying the textiles, and freezing the textiles to
>avoid mold outbreak on the muddy wet textiles in order to gain time
>became unnecessary. Nevertheless, I would like to find out if there
>are any articles about research concerning the effect of freezing on
>wet textiles.

You might find helpful the work of Prof. Elizabeth Peacock and Prof.
K. Jakes, and in particular the following references:

    Jakes, K. A. and Mitchell, J. C. (1992).
    The recovery and drying of textiles from a deep ocean historic
    shipwreck. Journal of The American Institute For Conservation,
    31 (3), 343-353.

    Peacock, E. E. (1990).
    Freeze-drying archaeological textiles: The need for basic
    research. In S.A. O'Connor and M.A. Brooks (Eds.) Archaeological
    textiles. Occasional papers no. 10. The proceedings of the
    conference "Textiles for the Archaeological Conservator" held by
    the UKIC Archaeology Section, York, April 1988. (pp. 22-27).
    London: United Kingdom Institute for Conservation.

    Peacock, E. E. (1999).
    A note on the effect of multiple freeze-thaw treatment on
    natural fibre fabrics. Studies in Conservation, 44, 12-18.

I reviewed materials conservation working this area in my doctoral

    Marsh-Letts, Glennda Susan. (2002).
    Ancient Egyptian Linen: The Role of Natron and other Salts in
    the Preservation and Conservation of Archaeological Textiles:  A
    Pilot Study. Ph. D. Thesis. University of Western Sydney.

This thesis is available through the website of the University of
Western Sydney Library, via the Australian Digital Thesis Program. I
finished my doctorate within what had been the former Hawkesbury
Agricultural College, as I was concentrating upon the effects of
salts upon vegetable fibres. My main research involved the
observation of salt crystallization in fibres, using Environmental
Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM). The freezing of archaeological
textiles, as part of a proposed treatment program, was a part of my
research. At that time one of my advisors told me that intensive
work had been done by the food industry on the importance of crystal
size in the freezing and freeze-drying of vegetables. You may wish
to follow this line of research.

Dr. Glennda Susan Marsh-Letts
1 Silva Road
(Cnr. George and Silva)
Springwood NSW 2777

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:24
                Distributed: Thursday, November 3, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-19-24-009
Received on Thursday, 3 November, 2005

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