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    Systematic mechanical assessment of consolidants for canvas reinforcement under controlled environment

    Bridarolli, A. and Nualart-Torroja, A. and Chevalier, A. and Odlyha, Marianne and Bozec, L. (2020) Systematic mechanical assessment of consolidants for canvas reinforcement under controlled environment. Heritage Science 8 (1), ISSN 2050-7445.

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    In conservation, adhesives are commonly used for the consolidation of canvases, yet their impact upon the canvas longevity has raised some concerns amongst conservators. As such, this study presents a testing protocol developed to assess the performance of commonly-used adhesives (natural animal glue and synthetic Beva® 371) and a newly developed nanocellulose consolidant, nanofibrillated nanocellulose (CNF). This includes their effect on the visual appearance, consolidation, and response of the mechanical properties of the treated canvases to programmed changes in relative humidity (RH). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of animal glue- and Beva® 371-treated canvases revealed the presence of adhesive and consolidant on and in-between cotton fibres. The consolidants form bridges linking and connecting the cotton fibres and holding them together, whereas the CNF treatment, formed a visible continuous and dense surface coating. None of the treatments induced any discernible colour change. Controlled environment mechanical testing was performed in two ways: by applying a linearly increasing static force at fixed RH (Young’s modulus) and by applying a dynamic force together with a programmed RH cycling between 20 and 80% (RH dependent viscoelastic properties). CNF gave a higher value of Young’s modulus than either of the two commonly-used materials. Measurements at different values of RH (20 and 80%) demonstrated for all the treated canvases that at the lower value (RH 20%) Young’s modulus values were higher than at the higher value (RH 80%). Besides, the dynamic mode showed that the rate of response in all cases was rapid and reversible and that the nanofibrillated cellulose treated sample showed the highest variation in storage (or elastic) modulus measured at the end of RH plateaux (20 and 80% RH). Thus CNF appears to be a promising material given its higher mechanical performance. The protocol developed in this study has enabled us to examine and compare candidate materials for the consolidation of canvases systematically, using testing parameters that remained relevant to the field of canvas conservation.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Canvas consolidation, Lining, Nanocellulose, Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), Relative humidity, Mechanical properties, Hygroscopicity
    School: School of Science > Biological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 08:29
    Last Modified: 09 Jun 2021 13:16


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