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An Investigation of the Chemical Changes of Artists' Acrylic Paint Films When Exposed to Water

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2011

R. Ploeger
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada
A. Murray
Affiliation:
Art Conservation Program, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada
S. Hesp
Affiliation:
Department of Chemistry, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada
D. Scalarone
Affiliation:
IPM Chemistry, University of Torino, Via Pietro Giuria 7, 10125, Torino, Italy
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Abstract

This paper addresses some of the conservation concerns of artists' acrylic paints by investigating the chemical changes of the paint films caused during a one-hour exposure to water experiments and the rate at which some of the changes occur. Three different acrylic paint films were investigated. Real-time capillary rise, conductivity measurements and thermo-mechanical analysis (TMA) gave an indication of the rate at which these changes occurred. Much of the measurable leaching occurred within the first 20 minutes of the paint film being exposed to water, while the most rapid leaching occurred within the first five minutes, before approaching an equilibrium state. All physical and visual changes in colour, gloss, dimension, mass and surface morphology (using atomic force microscopy, AFM) were monitored. A decrease in size and mass indicated that material had been permanently removed from the paint films. Gloss and colour measurements, as well as AFM images, also showed evidence of changes caused by the exposure to water.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2005

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