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The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Mechanical Properties of Modern Painting Materials

  • Jonah D. Erlebacher (a1), Eric Brown (a1), Marion F. Mecklenburg (a1) and Charles S. Tumosa (a1)

Abstract

The mechanical properties of strength, modulus, and elongation to break were studied for artists' acrylic and alkyd paints under varying conditions of temperature and relative humidity (RH). In the ambient environment, 23° C, 50% RH, acrylic paints are very flexible and are able to sustain large deformations (>50%). Alkyd paints are much stiffer and stronger, and they cannot sustain deformations nearly as dramatic as the acrylics. Acrylic paints at 5% RH are stiffer and stronger than at 50% RH and their ability to stretch is lessened. At temperatures below 15° C at 50% RH, the strength and stiffness of acrylic paints begin to rise rapidly. Some were found to be brittle at 5° C, and by −3° C, all were brittle. At a lower RH, some acrylic paints became brittle at a temperature near 11° C. These temperatures and relative humidities may be found in the transport environment of art objects, and may render them subject to possible damage.

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1. Mecklenburg, M. F. and Tumosa, C. S., “An Introduction Into the Mechanical Behavior of Paintings Under Rapid Loading Conditions,” Art in Transit: Studies in the Transport of Paintings, Mecklenburg, M. F., ed. (1991), 137171.
2. Mecklenburg, M. F. and Tumosa, C. S., “Mechanical Behavior of Paintings Subjected to Changes in Temperature and RelativeHumidity,” Art in Transit: Studies in the Transport of Paintings, Mecklenburg, M. F., ed. (1991), 173216.
3. Saunders, D., “Temperature and Relative Humidity Conditions Encountered in Transportation,” Art in Transit: Studies in the Tranport of Paintings, Mecklenburg, M.F., ed. (1991), 299308.

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The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Mechanical Properties of Modern Painting Materials

  • Jonah D. Erlebacher (a1), Eric Brown (a1), Marion F. Mecklenburg (a1) and Charles S. Tumosa (a1)

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