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Subject: Pond


From: Gregory D. Smith <smithgd>
Date: Thursday, February 8, 2007
Carol Brynjolfson <carolb [at] vanmuseum__bc__ca> writes

>I have been asked by our designer and display staff about the
>feasibility of incorporating a pond within an upcoming exhibit of
>mixed artefacts. ...

If you are concerned about evaporation and rising humidity, I have
heard that people who operate reservoirs in the Southwest use the
trick of adding a minuscule amount of hexadecanol (16 carbon
alcohol) to the water in the above ground lakes.  This material acts
like a surfactant and spreads in a monolayer across the surface of
the water.  It has the effect of creating a hydrophobic blanket
across the water's surface that prevents the water in the reservoir
from evaporating, even in the hot sun and dry air.

What might be problematic is (1) does it foam like a surfactant, (2)
can it be cycled through any recirculating pumps, (3) will it have
the effect of Ben Franklin's olive oil experiment and calm all the
dancing waves that you desire for their optical effect, and (4) what
is its effect on goldfish?  I believe it has a very low vapor
pressure and so it is unlikely to volatilize to any appreciable
extent to harm people or objects, but you would have to check this
out thoroughly before using it.  I noticed numerous papers online
and in water chemistry journals that might answer some of these

Gregory Dale Smith, Ph.D.
Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Conservation Science
Art Conservation Department
Rockwell Hall #230
1300 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo NY 14222
Fax: 716-878-5039

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:39
               Distributed: Wednesday, February 14, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-20-39-002
Received on Thursday, 8 February, 2007

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