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Subject: Measuring acidity in paper

Measuring acidity in paper

From: Paul Storch <paul.storch<-a>
Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Mary Miller <memiller<-a t->umn< . >edu> writes

>I received an inquiry from a student in our Art Department.  He is
>working on a project to plant pulp fiction novels under plants. He's
>interested in measuring the levels of acidity of the paper in the
>books, so that he can find plants with similar amounts of acidity in
>their soil (I assume that's part of the art project).  At the risk
>of exposing my scientific naivete, is there feasible way for him to
>measure the pH levels of paper in a book?

The simplest way to test the pH of paper is to use a pH testing pen.
That will give you a general idea of the pH range based on the color
change of the test spot.  Pens are available from the MNHS
Conservation Outreach department:


A more accurate reading can be done by using a pH meter and a flat
electrode.  You can contact the Paper Conservation lab at MNHS, also
via the website conservation page, or check with the chemistry
department at the university.

Paul S. Storch
Project Specialist III /Sites Collections and Exhibits Liaison
Facilities-Historic Properties Department
Facilities and Risk Management Division
Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Blvd. West
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1906

                  Conservation DistList Instance 28:23
                Distributed: Thursday, November 6, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-28-23-008
Received on Tuesday, 4 November, 2014

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