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The effect of particulate matter on paper degradation

Grau-Bove, J; Budic, B; Cigic, IK; Thickett, D; Signorello, S; Strlic, M; (2016) The effect of particulate matter on paper degradation. Heritage Science , 4 (2) 10.1186/s40494-016-0071-8. Green open access

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Background: In this work we explore the chemical effects of particulate matter on paper. We exposed paper made of pure cellulose to the environment in different locations in central London, outdoors (in sheltered conditions) and indoors, for a period of up to 6 months. We monitored particulate matter (PM) deposition by counting the particles deposited every month with a scanning electron microscope. We analysed elemental composition of the deposited particles using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. After accelerated degradation of the exposed samples, we determined the degree of polymerisation using viscometry. Results: We observed higher deposition rates and higher metal concentration outdoors than indoors. Elemental analysis of the deposited particles revealed the presence of some transition metals (Fe, Cu, Cr) that can contribute to the degradation of cellulose fibres through the Fenton reaction. By comparing the degree of polymerisation of pro‑ tected, unprotected and unexposed samples we could determine the relative contribution of PM deposition on the increase of the degradation rate. We found that the surface concentration of iron correlates with the reduction in the degree of polymerisation of the exposed paper. Conclusions: The results suggest that the presence of Fenton metals in PM has a significant effect on the accelera‑ tion of the degradation of cellulose. However, we estimate that this will unlikely occur at the levels of area coverage by PM that are typically avoided in indoor heritage through preventive maintenance and cleaning.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of particulate matter on paper degradation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40494-016-0071-8
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-016-0071-8
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Grau-Bové et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/ publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Paper, PM, Indoors, Exposure
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043508
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