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Subject: Vibration


From: Bill Wei <bill.wei>
Date: Monday, March 26, 2007
Hyttinen Kaisa <kaisa.hyttinen [at] nurminenprima__com> writes

>I am looking for any commercially available solutions/manufacturers
>(worldwide) to protect mainly 2-dimensional hanging artworks from
>vibration during construction and explosion work. I am aware of
>using mirror plates and similar systems to secure paintings into the
>wall but I am more interested in hearing if anyone knows of actual
>vibration reduction systems which maybe could be used with wires.
>But, any information is appreciated.

I cannot see from your address if you are serving a museum or your
own depot. Also, it is hard to advise you without actually being on
site. However, the general advice which I and the institute give to
museums at this moment is the following:

    *   I'm not sure what you mean by "securing a painting into a
        wall", but firmly securing a painting into a wall is not a
        good idea. The painting will then do whatever the wall does.
        In fact, the small study we did shows that a canvas itself
        moves much more than the wall. A panel painting will, of
        course, do what the wall does. You want to isolate the
        painting from the vibrations, but that is where I cannot
        properly advise you at the moment.

    *   If you can, convince the construction companies to reduce
        vibrations as much as possible. For shock (which is *not*
        the same as vibrations), my colleagues have never seen
        damage below 1.1 mm/s acceleration (to keep it simple, I
        won't explain what this number is, but any measurement
        engineer will know). This is very low, and difficult for a
        construction company to maintain, so you will probably have
        to negotiate.

        Some museums here allow 1.4 mm/s as an average level, with
        "occasional" jumps to 1.8 - 2.0 mm/s. You should be really
        careful in defining "occasional". What we mean is that a
        company is warned when the vibration level stays too long
        above 1.4 mm/s and asked to take measures to bring the
        levels down. However, it gets a "yellow" card if the
        shock/vibration level goes above 1.8 - 2.0 mm/s, even for
        just one shock. Three yellow cards is red, that means that
        the museum has the right to stop all activities.

    *   I don't know if hanging paintings from wires or those long
        rods will damp all vibrations, but if you hang them that
        way, you have a better chance of making sure that the
        painting does not touch the wall, or bang into it when there
        is an explosion.

    *   I assume that the construction is on one side of the museum.
        You might want to consider removing "sensitive" objects from
        the side closest to the construction, and put things that
        are less sensitive on that side, or just close that side of
        the building until the worst part of the construction is

    *   If you are really talking about explosives (blasting), you
        need to think about your building as well. Do you have
        underground depots that might get exposed to ground water if
        the walls crack? Is your museum a historic building /
        national monument?

Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that this advice will prevent
(unseen) damage in your specific situation, but these are general
practical tips we are following until our research gives us a better
idea of what is happening.

If you are interested, I am organising a partnership to study
vibrations and look for solutions. ... There are several museums,
another transport company, a measurement device company, and two
technical universities interested. This is a preparation meeting for
a possible proposal for European research funding.

Dr. W. (Bill) Wei
Afdeling Onderzoek / Research Department
Instituut Collectie Nederland
Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage
Postbus 76709
NL-1070 KA Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+31 20 305 47 41
Fax: +31 20 305 47 00

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:48
                  Distributed: Tuesday, April 10, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-20-48-004
Received on Monday, 26 March, 2007

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