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Subject: Reviews in Conservation

Reviews in Conservation

From: Graham Voce <iic<-at->
Date: Thursday, May 28, 2009
Reviews in Conservation number 9 published

The latest issue of IIC's Reviews in Conservation is now available
from the IIC office.  The articles in number Volume 54 number 9
cover a range of conservation review topics as these abbreviated
abstracts of the papers show:

    Identification of selected vegetable textile fibres

        By Debra Carr, Natasha Cruthers, Catherine Smith and Tom

        This article reviews the literature on the identification of
        vegetable textile fibres, more commonly known as plant or
        cellulose fibres. Identification of such fibres can have
        important implications (authentication, cultural
        information, development of treatment protocols) in numerous
        conservation specialisations, including ethnographic
        objects, textiles, paper and easel paintings. The fibres
        discussed in this article are those that The Textile
        Institute (Manchester, UK) defines as being vegetable
        fibres; cotton, kapok, coir, flax, hemp, jute, kenaf, ramie,
        abaca (manilla), henequen, New Zealand flax and sisal. The
        methods described include those that require only simple
        equipment, as well as methods that are more sophisticated,
        needing complex scientific instruments and trained
        personnel. The advantages and disadvantages of the methods
        are discussed. General and specific diagnostic features for
        each of the fibres are provided.

    Weighted silk: history, analysis and conservation

        By Marei Hacke

        Historic textile, and especially costume, collections often
        contain weighted silks. The fabrics are generally in poor
        condition as a result of the weighting agents that were
        added, and conservation treatments are often difficult. The
        wide variety of silk weighting methods that have developed
        since the latter part of the nineteenth century has led to
        the state of deterioration of the textiles that have
        survived being equally diverse. To date there are no
        standard conservation treatments for weighted silks,
        although various chemical and physical methods have been
        tested. The problem of fast decaying silks has stimulated
        research within the silk industry since the late 1800s. This
        review focuses on information relating to the history,
        identification, degradation and stabilisation of Western
        weighted silks found in the English and German literature
        from the 1870s onwards.

    Unstable historic glass: symptoms, causes, mechanisms and

        By Jerzy J. Kunicki-Goldfinger

        A significant proportion of glass objects in museum
        collections are known to be actively deteriorating,
        irrespective of the storage or display conditions. Various
        terms have been used to describe the effect including sick
        glass, glass disease, glass illness, crizzling and weeping.
        The symptoms reflect the chemical instability of certain
        types of glass as a consequence of their manufacturing
        technology, such as over purification of raw materials or
        poor batch formulation. A review of the literature indicates
        the wide range of approaches adopted to mitigate the
        problem. There are significant discrepancies between those
        that have been recommended in the past and current
        conservation literature, indicating the need for further

    Techniques for monitoring moisture in walls

        By Sarah Eleni Pinchin

        In order to diagnose and treat moisture-related problems in
        historic buildings, it is necessary to measure moisture
        levels in walls. This review describes equipment and
        procedures for measuring moisture in building materials. As
        well as those commonly employed, it includes techniques
        which can only be used in the laboratory as they are
        impractical in the field, and equipment which is being
        developed and tested but not yet in widespread use. Some
        approaches are simple and standard practice; others require
        specialist expertise and equipment, or long term on-site
        installations. The techniques are evaluated based on their
        practical application for use in situ, for monitoring
        moisture changes both at the surface and through the profile
        of a wall.

    The uses of cyclododecane in conservation

        By Sophie Rowe and Christina Rozeik

        Cyclododecane was introduced to conservation in 1995 and has
        since proved to be a versatile and useful conservation
        material. It has been used on a wide variety of materials,
        including wall paintings, plaster, ceramics, paper, textiles
        and metals. Its ability to sublime without residues is
        particularly exciting for conservators because it offers the
        possibility of a temporary consolidant, binding medium,
        adhesive or support material that is fully reversible. This
        paper describes the ways in which cyclododecane has been
        used in conservation, and offers a detailed survey of its
        properties and behaviour in various conditions. The health
        and safety information is also thoroughly reviewed; this is
        especially useful because the information in the
        conservation literature is frequently confused or
        inaccurate. Conservators should always take thorough
        precautions to protect themselves against inhalation of
        cyclododecane until more is known about its effect on human

    The chemistry of sodium dithionite and its use in conservation

        By Lyndsie Selwyn and Season Tse

        Sodium dithionite (SDT) is a reducing agent used in
        conservation, mainly for iron stain removal from both
        organic and inorganic substrates, and occasionally to treat
        corroded copper and silver artifacts. The purpose of this
        review is to provide information about the use and
        limitations of SDT, based on its solution chemistry and on
        the conservation literature. A discussion summarises how to
        use SDT effectively in conservation treatments and provides
        ideas for future work.

Copies of this latest Reviews in Conservation are available from the
IIC offices at the address below, as individual copies or as part of
the IIC membership package.  Copies of past issues are also
available; please ask for a price list and order form.

Graham Voce
Executive Secretary
International Institute for Conservation
    of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC)
6 Buckingham Street
London WC2N 6BA
+44 20 7839 5975
Fax: +44 20 7976 1564

                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:2
                  Distributed: Thursday, May 28, 2009
                        Message Id: cdl-23-2-011
Received on Thursday, 28 May, 2009

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