Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists And Curators Join Forces To Save Old Masters

Date:
August 30, 2000
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
It's enough to make the "Mona Lisa" stop smiling. In an effort to preserve old paintings, collectors and curators unknowingly used untested and risky techniques that are causing the polymers forming their paints to fall apart, researchers reported at the 220th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Preservation transformed from unpredictable craft into science

Related Articles


Washington D.C., August 24 -- It's enough to make the "Mona Lisa" stop smiling. In an effort to preserve old paintings, collectors and curators unknowingly used untested and risky techniques that are causing the polymers forming their paints to fall apart, researchers reported today at the 220th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Poor preservation techniques include trying to clean paintings with harsh chemicals, which soften and deform the paint. As these solvents evaporate and cause plasticizers to leach out, the paint becomes brittle, making it more susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures or frequent handling, they say.

"We are living with the consequences of improper preservation and we want to make sure this doesn't happen anymore," says Charles S. Tumosa, Ph.D., a chemist with the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, in Suitland, Md.

Paintings aren't the only museum holdings in danger of being lost to future generations. Reports on the deterioration of polymers used in everything from dolls to spacesuits will also be presented at the ACS meeting in a special daylong symposium on the preservation of polymers in museums.

Cracks, yellowing and warping are just some of the problems that plague centuries-old oil paintings. To determine how best to stave them off, Tumosa and his fellow preservationists, David Erhardt and Marion Mecklenburg, also Ph.D. scientists, use techniques ranging from recreating old paint to simulating the effects of temperature, humidity and time. Their sophisticated computer models can predict how actual paintings will fare. Armed with this knowledge, curators can act to prevent irreparable damage.

The paper on this research, POLY 452, will be presented at 2:35 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24, in the J.W. Marriott Hotel, Grand Salon I.

Charles S. Tumosa, Ph.D., is a senior research chemist at the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education in Suitland, Md.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of 161,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.


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. "Chemists And Curators Join Forces To Save Old Masters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000830074633.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2000, August 30). Chemists And Curators Join Forces To Save Old Masters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000830074633.htm
American Chemical Society. "Chemists And Curators Join Forces To Save Old Masters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000830074633.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

At Least 15 Injured in a California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

At Least 15 Injured in a California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) At least 15 injred after natural gas transmission line ruptures in Fresno, California. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) NASA&apos;s prototype electric buggy could influence future space rovers and conventional cars. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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