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How will scientific research help the conservator?

Project aims

Why does paper degrade?
How to prevent degradation
Paper stability estimation
What is chemiluminescence
CL and the cultural heritage
Chemiluminescence will enable the conservation scientist to study the oxidative degradation reactions of paper. Even historic originals may be studied using the new prototype with non-destructive sampling.

N 1920's, IT WAS DISCOVERED that acidity in paper is harmful for its stability and in the years to come, conservation treatments were proposed. It is now well known that deacidification of acidic paper is the first step towards long-term preservation. However, scientists and conservators so far agree only to this point. Not even whether Ca- or Mg- containing deacidification chemical should be used, is agreed upon. Once paper is neutral to moderately alkaline, autoxidation and alkaline degradation become the predominant degradation mechanisms. The experimental techniques available to conservation chemists are tedious and time-consuming and months are needed to evaluate the stability of a particular type of paper at room temperature. In addition, such evaluation is usually a subject to a large error. Since chemiluminescence accompanies oxidation reactions, the idea behind Papylum project is to construct an instrument, which will enable the conservation scientist to study the degradation reactions of neutral/alkaline paper at experimental temperatures close to room temperature and correlate light emission with paper's stability. This will enable us to:

Obtain a better knowledge of the degradation reaction and propose better conservation procedures;
Provide an experimental method as an alternative to accelerated ageing;
Evaluate paper conservation procedures more quickly and with more confidence;
Study stability of historical artefacts using non-destructive sampling.

Lumipol 3 drawing

The new chemiluminometer Lumipol 3 prototype
produced by the Papylum team.


Papylum. Anno MMII