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Subject: Measuring acidity in paper

Measuring acidity in paper

From: Simon Green <simongreen22<-a>
Date: Monday, November 3, 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?

As the books are effectively being disposed of by burying and hence
of no cultural conservation value, they could either:

Buy some pH indicator strip (for example Merck), place a drop of
distilled or deionised water onto a page and after suitable interval
test the pH with the strip.  It will have instructions on how to do
this or

As they will need to get a soil pH test kit (available from most
garden centres cheaply) to test the soil anyway, just take a
sufficient sample of paper and treat it exactly as if testing soil

Neither recommended if you want to conserve the book!

Simon Barcham Green

                  Conservation DistList Instance 28:23
                Distributed: Thursday, November 6, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-28-23-009
Received on Monday, 3 November, 2014

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