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Material properties of Islamic paper

Mahgoub, H; Bardon, T; Lichtblau, D; Fearn, T; Strlič, M; (2016) Material properties of Islamic paper. Heritage Science , 4 , Article 34. 10.1186/s40494-016-0103-4. Green open access

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In contrast to scientific research focussing on European paper, there is a significant gap in our knowledge of Islamic papermaking. This research surveys the evidence of techniques and materials typically used in Islamic papermaking, to deduce what might be considered as the most significant characteristics. A substantial collection of 228 Islamic papers (~18th–20th century) was characterized using chemical analytical methods: surface profilometry, gloss measurements, specular vs. diffuse reflectance ratio at 457 nm, scanning electron microscopy and infrared spectroscopy for identification of polishing, iodine test for identification of starch, Raspail test for identification of rosin, and fibre furnish analysis. Morphological analysis was performed to examine the presence of watermarks and sieve patterns. In addition, acidity and degree of polymerization of cellulose in paper were determined to explore the average material state of paper in the collection. Near infrared spectroscopic data of the collection were correlated to chemical properties with the aid of multivariate data analysis methods. Four different models were developed focusing on two main characteristics of Islamic paper: two for identification of polishing and starch, and two quantitative models to determine the acidity and degree of polymerization of cellulose in paper. While no single defining characteristic of Islamic paper was identified, 88 % of all papers in the studied collection either contain starch or are polished, or both. ~2 % of papers contain rosin. The majority of papers are neutral to mildly acidic, which is in contrast to their extensive degradation: ~69 % have DP < 1000. Polishing and starch appear to be associated with current values of pH and DP. The developed non-destructive characterization methodology could be applied to Islamic collections in libraries and archives to expand the database with the material properties of papers of known age and provenance and thus better understand geographic and temporal distributions of papermaking practices in Islamic countries.

Type: Article
Title: Material properties of Islamic paper
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40494-016-0103-4
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40494-016-0103-4
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). 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: Near infrared spectroscopy; Chemometrics; Non-destructive characterization; Polishing; Starch
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 Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
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/1527462
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