Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Sheds New Light On Soot Damage To Artwork

Date:
May 22, 2000
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Old artwork never dies, it simply fades to black. That's because soot - tiny pieces of black carbon emitted from trucks burning diesel fuel or factories burning coal - accumulates on paintings, causing the image to darken over time.

Chemistry study shows how to protect, when to clean fine art

Old artwork never dies, it simply fades to black. That's because soot - tiny pieces of black carbon emitted from trucks burning diesel fuel or factories burning coal - accumulates on paintings, causing the image to darken over time.

How much of the airborne particles it takes to show on artwork is the subject of research reported in the current (May 15) print edition of Environmental Science and Technology, published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

The research can help control damage to priceless works of art, frescoes and family heirlooms. Once it sticks to artwork, soot is difficult and sometimes impossible to remove, according to Leon Bellan, lead author of the study. Bellan, a high school student at the time, was named a national finalist in the prestigious Intel science competition for his work.

The findings can be used to determine how often to clean some works of art and how to protect others, said Glenn Cass, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who oversaw Bellan's research.

"This research gives museum designers the information needed to protect a collection from changing over the years," Cass said.

Using a laser printer that randomly deposited microscopic dots on eight different colored samples, the researchers developed two tests to compare how people detected differences in appearance. They found that more than 12 percent of a sample must be covered with dots before people could accurately see the difference between clean and soiled sheets separated from one another. When the sheets were placed side by side, differences between "clean" and "dirty" samples were easier to discern: people detected a difference when less than four percent of a sheet was covered with dots simulating soot.

Soot is made up of microscopic particles typically too small for most museums' air filters. There are currently no U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for indoor airborne soot deposits.

Soot deposition rates ranged from .08 to 2.7 micrograms per meter of artwork per day, according to previous measurements. The rates were based on conditions in Southern California museums, but are applicable to a modern building anywhere in the world, Cass said.

At the rates found, it would take between five and 300 years for a painting to reach the visual threshold of darkening. Higher rates would be expected in Europe, where more diesel fuel adds additional soot to the environment, and during the winter, when fuel use goes up, he added.

"The present findings may mean that management of soiling problems is more difficult than previously expected," Cass said. "The rate of change on the appearance of the objects in a museum will be so gradual as to possibly escape the notice of people who see the collection on a daily basis."

Cass worked at the California Institute of Technology at the time of the study. Bellan is now a student at the same university.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Research Sheds New Light On Soot Damage To Artwork." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000519065223.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2000, May 22). Research Sheds New Light On Soot Damage To Artwork. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000519065223.htm
American Chemical Society. "Research Sheds New Light On Soot Damage To Artwork." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000519065223.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins