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Nanometrology for damage assessment and preservation of parchment

Bartoletti, A; (2017) Nanometrology for damage assessment and preservation of parchment. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The overall objective of the present work was to promote the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Microthermal Analysis (µTA) as diagnostic tools for parchment artefacts by creating new protocols to investigate parchment's conservation condition at the nanoscale. Historical parchments are often of great cultural value, so access to samples can be limited. Thus, a well-accepted method designed by Professor Larsen and his team for the characterisation of extracted collagen fibres from parchment has been adapted for the preparation of our samples for AFM and µTA. These techniques were applied on a new calfskin hide, accelerated aged parchment samples and historical parchment documents. The application of AFM allowed for the visual identification of a series of damage markers: alterations of the collagen structure, which were previously undetectable. In this novel research, these damage markers have been used to design a protocol to extrapolate the damage profile of a parchment sample, the percentage of the total degraded area, and the distribution of each damage marker. µTA was used to extrapolate the thermal profile of the samples and revealed changes in the thermo-mechanical behaviour, upon ageing, for both accelerated aged and historical parchments. These protocols were then tested in the European project NANOFORART to assess the short-long term impact of novel nanomaterials designed for the conservation of parchment. Calcium-based nanoparticles, dispersed in propan-2-ol or cyclohexane, were proposed as a potential conservation treatment for parchment, with the aim to enhance (or recreate) a protective sacrificial layer of calcium carbonate to neutralise volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (e.g. acetic and formic acid) that might lead to break of cross-links in collagen. The application of AFM and µTA allowed changes in the collagen scaffold due to the application of the solvents to be traced, identifying early signs of alteration and different interactions between solvents and parchment. The presence of nanoparticles seemed to play a fundamental role in the preservation of parchment; all the dispersions tested showed a protective effect, counteracting changes in the thermal stability of the treated-aged samples when compared to untreated-aged ones. After successfully testing the damage marker protocol here, it has shown its use as a potentially potent tool for use in conservation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Nanometrology for damage assessment and preservation of parchment
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1556457
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