Journal of
Conservation & Museum Studies
No. 1, May 1996

Second Postgraduate Conservation Research Seminar
Science Museum, London SW7 2DD, UK
8-9 February 1996



Sheila Fairbrass

Department of Chemical Engineering/Science Museum, Imperial College, London SW7, United Kingdom

The development of Laser Surface Profilometry has allowed detailed inspection and measurement of the surface of objects at micron level without the need for sample preparation. This talk will focus on some of the ageing characteristics of PVC.

Samples of PVC were exposed to UV radiation and also natural sunlight using the Blue Wool Standard as a guide to dosage, and the surfaces were examined with the profilometer. They were left in situ under the laser while the surfaces were swabbed with distilled water and then re-examined for changes in surface morphology.

Preliminary results indicate that surface deformation is visible after the light dosage needed to fade Blue Wool Standard 4. At Blue Wool Standard 5 surface de-lamination can occur.

A second study using the percent reflectance of the laser from the surface is being carried out to determine whether it is possible to identify cleaning materials left on the surface after conservation.


The methods, techniques, and conclusions found in individual papers are the work and responsibility of the author of the paper, and should in no way be thought to represent the opinion or endorsement of either the Journal of Conservation & Museum Studies, the Institute of Archaeology, or University College London. No liability or contract is accepted or implied by the publication of these data.


Copyright © Sheila Fairbrass, 1996. All rights reserved.